To strengthen the market supervision for the health food after filing
date:2014-10-31
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In recent years, Chinese health food enterprises and product variety are increasing, market consumption more rational. And now, the functional claim species of health food had a relatively fixed. As the improvement in economic conditions and enhancement in self-health care consciousness of people, health food access in the horizons of ordinary citizens, and all sorts of function health food declared in everywhere, whether in the supermarket or pharmacy; for the market characteristics, health food enterprises, products and the autonomous buying behavior of citizens is increasing, in recent years, also makes the market more rational. On the other hand, the functional claim types of health food are fixed, whether to cover a variety of the market products or not. Industry experts said that the examination and approval of function of health food has been open, allowing companies to voluntarily declare, but for a variety of reasons, companies are reluctant to do, so that the kinds of functional claim relative immobilized.
Transition from the examination and approval system to the filling system gradually
On July 2, 2014 in the afternoon, the 9th meeting of the 12 National People's Congress (NPC) finished “the food safety law of the People's Republic of China (revised draft)” (hereinafter referred to as the revised draft) first review, and formal consultation to the whole society. Revised draft of first mentioned the implementation of health food filling system about registration.
Xu Huafeng, vice director of China health care association, said the health food approval system will be gradually transition to the filling system, in order to improve the efficiency.
In the current management mode, a product for health food approval (that is, the small bluebonnet), to test in the first place, which including toxicology test, function test, efficacy ingredients or iconic composition detection, hygiene test and stability test.
"In terms of time, these tests may last for months, six months or longer, especially some projects involving human trials, and then to apply for, conform to the following to the national related department to submit an application by the provincial department, relevant departments and experts of health food review center review for the product formula, scientifically compatibility, and other production standard, to obtain health food, declared health care function accordingly through authorized."
Relatively, the key link is still in the test section before audit, the approval process has certain hysteresis, which is also the direction of future reform, the examination and approval devolution, the approval process will be shortened, implements classified administration for health food. 
The transition schedule is still undecided, or start with products that easy regulated
If the filling system implemented, that procedures can be relatively simplified for administrative examination and approval, with clear time limit for examination and approval. As for the time of transition, Xu Huafeng said, "the specific plan is still in the study, but the direction of the reform is certain. Related agencies also are organizing experts to preparation for the record."
Xia Junbo, managing director, NBTY China, said that the similar products on the market are not uncommon, register again is a waste of resources, and the filling system underscored the responsibility of the enterprise.
It is need to reiterate, however, the filling system was conducted step by step, not a "one size fits all". "Firstly, start with products with easy to regulated, meanwhile, dietary supplements are different from a lot of health food, which generally don’t involve the effect claims of related disease, management is relatively simple, may as the first batch of records management category." Xu Huafeng said.
Well, someone expressed the opposite view. Zhang Dachao, deputy secretary-general of China health care association, has said that filed management ignored the inspections beforehand, may lead to the safety problems for health food. Though the examination and approval system procedure is complex, but since July 1996 the implementation of examination and approval system, China's health food no major safety accidents occurred in the 18 years.
In the previous definition, health food is the food which have specific claimed about health care function or for the purpose of supplement the vitamins and minerals.
Dietary supplements may become the first filed management category
Due to dietary supplements management is relatively easy, market types of commonly used mostly added vitamins, minerals, etc., and using a standard to inspect a lot of products, it may become the first filed management category. While other types of products, although functionally similar, the components may have very big difference, especially the ratio of main composition effect, as well as product personalization is strong, may still take a single examination and approval system. "Strictly, it is a commonly known as dietary supplement, not a professional term or the term in legal sense, it may covers ordinary food and the food may have some effect, etc., as for the future of dietary supplements specific division, wait for a new food safety law revision, the same as management method of health food."
According to the previous definition, health food is the food which have specific claimed about health care function or for the purpose of supplement the vitamins and minerals. This mean that food is suitable eat for certain people, have the function of regulate the body, not for the purpose of treat the disease, and to the human body does not produce any acute, sub-acute or chronic harm. For some food without health food approval can claim some function or not, also to wait for revision of the food safety law. "For example, the ordinary food we often contacted, such as jujube, red bean, etc., can have certain function claim. As a matter of fact, each food has a certain effect, just different in effect size and the target crowd."
Health food function claim has been open
Currently, health food function declared to 27 species, but the relevant or similar products on the market are diverse, the function claims of these products can cover the entire industry or not? it is difficult, which is one of the reasons for reform, Xu Huafeng said.
In addition, "the influence of traditional" medicine food homology "concept, a lot of food also has the effect of certain aspects, but when people are buying certain foods, that whether ' suitable' should be subject to relevant national examination and approval, because this is the best proof of efficacy clarity. We do not rule out some ordinary food may have some function, but the difference is that a function has not been inspection by related department. On the other hand, in fact, the functional claim of health food has been open. Now company can apply for a new health food claim, submit relevant materials to prove its validity basis and method, and pass review of the evaluation committee."
Marketers Insights
Health food consumption gradually tend to be more rational
Xu Huafeng, vice director of the Chinese health association said, for the new characteristics of health food market in recent years, which has been tend to rational gradually. From the point of purchase behavior, people increase in the number of purchase behavior with differ from giving gifts before, not blindly follow suit, also to be more rational.
From the distribution of health food enterprises, moreover, that has the characteristics of the "small" and "loose". The health food market products are increased obviously, about more than 14000, but most of the enterprise scale is still small, and the regional misdistributions, which more in the eastern and less in the central and western China.
the Chinese medicine and health products import and export chamber of commerce of date, output value of China’s nutrition and health food in 2015 is expected to reach ¥1 trillion, and form more than 10 enterprises that products sales income in ¥10 billion of above, production concentration of Fortune 100 companies is more than 50%.
Hot questions and answers
Costs may the cause of reluctant to declare the new features for companies
Q: Why the function of health food has been relatively fixed, and no obvious increased, although that has been opened?
Xu Huafeng: there are two reasons: on the one hand, a new feature that always laborious, the countries do not have the corresponding protection measures if a new function is declared and through the review, some companies are reluctant to spend extra time and cost. the cost of a new feature for truly declare may not much more, but due to directly for examination and approval of the existing function is relatively simple, so some manufacturers prefer to cut corners rather than to declare when propaganda.
In addition, many companies ignored the new product development, while they focus on advertising and after-sales. In the future, the function claims scope of health food will expand, declare cost will decrease for enterprise. With the strictly prior approval, the filling system will transition to the oversight gradually, so that improve the efficiency of examination and approval, to strengthen market regulation.
The functions claim of food with the traditional culture is no clear management approach 
Q: Consumers how to identify these product functions that are not belong to the scope of health food functions, such as “Nourishing the stomach”,” tonifying kidney” and “enrich the blood” in the product slogan?
Xu Huafeng: These product functions are actually the concept with the aid of traditional Chinese medicine culture, and only Chinese to understand. Some functional claim also has a lot of controversy in the experts and academia. It really no clear management method for these, but may take different from existing methods to regulate health food management in the future.
 
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