Regulatory review: The latest supplement and functional food policy developments…in one place

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

There have been a raft of regulatory developments across APAC. ©iStock
There have been a raft of regulatory developments across APAC. ©iStock

Related tags Functional food Supplements Policy

In the first of our monthly reviews of the latest supplement and functional food regulatory and policy news, we reveal the most recent developments in China, India and Japan, while also shining the spotlight on decisions from the UK and US.


The Chinese authorities have approved new e-commerce rules​, with lawmakers now calling for a 'complete regulatory system' to also cover cross-border transactions.

The new e-commerce laws will come into effect on January 1, 2019.

The rules were adopted after a fourth reading at the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress that ended last Friday.

The new law requires e-commerce sites to abide by import and export administrative rules – a rule which drafting committee members have repeatedly pushed for during the five day meeting.

It came after we revealed a week earlier​ that China looked set to implement new cross border e-commerce (CBEC) rules on January 1 next year, according to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).

Elsewhere in China, More daigou traders are being sued for selling food and supplements that do not contain Chinese labelling.

Some were ordered by the court to make compensation that was 10 times higher than the price of the product sold.

One daigou trader was ordered to make a compensation of 10,240 yuan (about US$1500) – 10 times the price of a supplement product she had sold via Taobao.


Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has revised an ordinance to permit the production and sale of liquid infant formula,​ leading some of the country’s biggest players to express an interest in entering the market.

Meiji is one of the firms that has already commenced with product development.

It is also discussing the types of product and packaging that would suit the Japanese market, a spokesman said in response to NutraIngredients-Asia’s ​queries.

The firm also plans to invest in production line to manufacture the product.


Indian regulator FSSAI has published updated rules for food fortification standards,​ as part of its efforts to make the practice part of the national agenda.

The latest notification refers to the updated set of regulations as the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations 2018.

By January 1 2019, all food business operators must comply with "all the provisions of these regulations"​, with permitted dosages of added micronutrients recommended by the panel adjusted to provide 30% to 50% of each individual's daily requirements.

The permitted dosages provide a minima and maxima range for the fortification of staple foods like wheat flour (also called atta​ or maida​), rice, salt, milk, and vegetable oil.

Also in India, an expert panel has been set-up review India’s proposed new packaged foods labelling rules,​ which include controversial plans to for red labels to be added to products high in fat, sugar and salt.

Regulator the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) established the three-member committee after food firms expressed concerns about the proposals.

New Zealand

New Zealand's Chief Science Advisor and the Royal Society Te Apārangi have backed the health benefits of fortifying bread​ with folic acid, adding to calls for mandatory fortification in the country.

Their new report looked in detail at neural tube defects (NTDs) in New Zealand, which formed the basis for recommending folic acid fortification for bread.

The most recent data showed that in 2013, 18 babies were born with NTDs and six were stillborn with an NTD.


The UK government is proposing a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children​, following on from moves made by major supermarkets to ban sales to U16s in their stores.

A government consultation outlines a ban that would apply to drinks with more than 150mg of caffeine per litre, and prevent all retailers from selling the drinks to children. It is now seeking views on whether sales of energy drinks to children should be stopped.

While a number of major retailers have already banned the sale of energy drinks to children, it is not a legal requirement and children can still easily buy energy drinks from convenience stores, other retailers and vending machines.


The US Federal Trade Commission has moved to shut down a fraudulent scheme​ that purported to show how to make more money selling products on Amazon.

The action was taken in concert with the State of Minnesota. It charged the defendants, doing business as Sellers Playbook, with defrauding people looking to do business on Amazon by inducing them to sign up for an expensive system that purported to show them how to make thousands of dollars of profit a month selling on the platform.

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