Regulatory review: New Zealand's natural health products, Japan's GMP requirement in the spotlight

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

NZ natural health products policy shift, Japan's GMP requirement and more in regulatory round-up

Related tags GMP Natural Health Products New Zealand FFC Foods with Function Claims

We look at the latest regulatory announcements happening across APAC, including what's next for New Zealand's natural health products regulatory landscape, Japan requiring all Food with Function Claims (FFC) in tablets, capsules forms to comply with GMP standards, South Korea permitting automatic customs screening for health functional foods imports and more.
NZ health minister signals potential policy shift for natural products

New Zealand’s associate health minister has attempted to assure the natural health products industry that a modern regulatory regime to boost exports will be introduced. However, details on the exact timelines for both quick wins or longer-term policy implementation are lacking.

At the Natural Health Products New Zealand (NHPNZ) annual conference held last month, associate health minister Casey Costello pointed out in her opening address the vision for a regulatory landscape that "balanced risk with oversight and efficiency".

The current rules for dietary supplements could be dated back to the mid-1980s. It was supposed to be replaced with the Therapeutic Products Act due to come into force in 2026, but the plan was scaped after a new government took office last year.

Japan requires FFC supplement firms to follow GMP and report adverse cases​  

Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) has made it mandatory for companies making Food with Function Claims (FFC) in the supplement format, such as tablets and capsules, to follow the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

Businesses are also required to report cases of adverse effects linked to the consumption of their products to the authorities.

The new rules came following Kobayashi Pharmaceutical’s contaminated red yeast rice scandal that has shaken up the industry, and prompted the regulators to tighten control over the sector.  

South Korea allows health functional foods imports to undergo automatic customs screening​  

Health functional foods imported into South Korea can now go through automatic document screening which takes up to only five minutes, as the authorities sought to help importers lower logistics costs when crossing the customs.

The automatic document screening, known as Electronic Review 24 (SAFE-i24), has been implemented for imported health functional foods since May 20.

Prior to this, only food additives, agricultural, livestock, and marine products are allowed for automatic document screening.

Proposal for new functional foods category in China draws mixed reactions - In-depth analysis

A proposal by Feihe Dairy’s chairman to add a new functional foods category to China’s regulatory system could offer financial and innovation benefits to brands, but there are concerns around its practicality and industry compliance.

Feihe Dairy’s Chairman Leng Youbin cited the example of Japan’s Foods with Function Claims (FFC) for learnings during China’s annual Two Sessions, explaining how this has led to increased innovation and has revitalised the food industry.

Regulatory experts told NutraIngredients-Asia ​that the FFC framework could save companies time and money during new product development, but more needs to be done to ensure efficacy, since FFCs in Japan are not assessed by the authorities for its effectiveness.

New FAO-WHO vitamin D recommendations for young children​  

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have recommended to increase children’s daily vitamin D intake from 5mg to 10mg.  

This is based on a study commissioned by the two organisations, as they reassess their vitamin D recommendations for kids under four years old last updated 20 years ago.

The new recommendations also aimed to be more inclusive in providing global vitamin D recommendations, regardless of sunlight exposure.

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