Regulatory review: South Korea's personalised nutrition system, hair loss, height growth claims in the spotlight

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

South Korea's personalised nutrition system and crackdown on unapproved health claims in regulatory spotlight

Related tags South korea personalised nutrition hair loss height growth

In our monthly nutra regulatory round-up, we look at the latest regulatory announcements happening across APAC, including South Korea's plans in implementing a customised health functional food system following the success of a four-year pilot program, and the country's crackdown on general foods making unapproved hair loss prevention and height growth benefit claims.
South Korea’s upcoming ‘Customised Health Functional Food System’ looks to meet growing consumer demand and spur industry growth

South Korea is on course to implement a “Customised Health Functional Food System” next January to meet personalised nutrition needs.

The system will help boost the country’s health functional foods industry and enhance product safety control.

It will be improvised based on the country’s four-year pilot project with personalised nutrition. The pilot project had seen high consumer satisfaction rate (95 per cent), with the number of stores approved to participate increasing from 180 at the beginning to about 3,700 as of the end of last year.

Collaborative safety: Vietnam completes new digital food safety management system in partnership with South Korea  

Vietnam has launched its new digital food safety management system developed with South Korea, with one of its main functions being monitoring food poisoning outbreak across the country.

The partnership came as part of the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme, where it aids developing markets in the promotion of economic development and social welfare.

“Overall, with the establishment of this system, we expect that this will greatly contribute to the digital transformation of Vietnam’s food system and will significantly increase the efficiency of food safety management work and strengthen public safety manage,” ​said Vietnam Food Agency Director Nguyen Thanh Phong.

Brush with the law: Korea snares 150 health functional foods for advertising hair loss prevention​  

Hair loss prevention is not yet approved as a benefit claim for health functional foods in South Korea, warns the MFDS which had caught 146 online advertisements making related claims.

An inspection of online advertisements across e-commerce platforms, social media accounts, and second-hand markets in February had found a total of 622 false, exaggerated advertisements related to hair loss, said the regulator.

It stressed that no health functional foods have been recognised for their efficacy or effectiveness in preventing or treating hair loss so far, although there were functional cosmetics approved to make hair loss symptoms relief claims.

Height growth claims: MFDS catches nearly 260 cases of problematic online advertising​  

South Korea’s MFDS has found 259 cases of problematic online food advertisements claiming to benefit “height growth”, “height promotion”, or positioned as “height nutrition” products for children.

The cases were discovered following an inspection conducted in February on e-commerce websites and social networking services (SNS), including Instagram and Facebook.

About seven in 10 cases involved general foods making claims that cause consumers to confuse them as Health Functional Foods (HFF), which is a violation of the Act on Labelling and Advertising of Foods.

Not-so-sweet baby: Philippines congress could ban added sugar in foods for young children

Members of the Philippines government are calling for regulations that would officially ban manufacturers from using added sugar as an ingredient in foods for young children aged three and below.

“Recent data has found that young Filipinos are at a greater risk of obesity, due to the consumption of food that is energy-dense and nutrient-poor, exacerbated by growing urbanisation and increased incomes,”​ Senator Imee R. Marcos highlighted to the Senate earlier this year when tabling the bill.

“The proposed bill seeks to ensure good nutrition, optimal child growth and development, and better health outcomes for children,” ​she added.

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