BEIJING—China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Legislative Department called a meeting in late August to discuss China’s Draft Food Safety Law, including regulations that oversee the dietary supplement industry. Led by Yuan Jie and Huang Wei, director and deputy director of NPC’s Legislative Department, the meeting included officials from the embassies of Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand and the United States; the EU Delegation; the American Chamber of Commerce; and the US-China Health Products Association (USCHPA).
According to Jeff Crowther, executive director of USCHPA, the three-hour meeting focused in large part around ongoing issues with infant formula, but opened the door for the invited officials to share their insights on key regulatory issues. “This is the first time I’ve witnessed such openness and strong willingness to engage with foreign parties," Crowther said. “USCHPA sees this as a sign of true determination by China to reform and put into practice more streamlined and transparent regulations."
USCHPA shared its views on several angles around supplement regulations:
- Dietary supplements should be regulated under food law and on a notification basis instead of the current system of registration, which is both costly and redundant.
- The current terminology of “health food industry" should be replaced by the more precise term “dietary supplement industry" when referring to this market.
- Health product claims should be replaced with structure/function claims similar to what are allowed in the United States.
- The notification system regulations as drafted are very limited and should be updated. In fact, more open, transparent regulations around notification would open up more opportunities for foreign and domestic ingredient suppliers to sell to Chinese manufacturers of dietary supplements.
- Ingredients that have been approved as food by China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission should be permitted to be sold as dietary supplements without additional requirements for testing from China’s FDA.
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