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Nutricosmetics: The Next Big Thing

April 30, 2012

During recent interviews with China’s nutraceutical manufacturers, one of the most frequent questions I have been asking is, “what effects do you expect the upcoming Regulation on Supervision and Administration of Functional (Health) Foods to have on your business?”

Natural skin lighteners are growing in popularity.
This long-awaited regulation has been the hottest issue in China in recent years. That’s because the lack of relevant, clear-cut regulations and stringent supervision is always blamed for a host of scandals in China’s nutraceuticals market. These scandals range anywhere from false advertisement to inferior quality. The latest credibility crisis the manufacturers are facing is that an excessive amount of lead was reportedly found in spirulina, that blue-green algae which is said to be rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Spirulina is one of the most popular dietary supplements in China.

According to China Daily, six out of eight popular brands of spirulina products sampled in March from drug stores, supermarkets and shopping centers in several major cities of China were tested and found to contain excessive levels of lead. The article claimed that substandard spirulina powder was the cause. According to reports, some certification agencies helped the manufacturers obtain official permits for their unqualified products by fabrication and bribery.

The study has again raised public concerns over current officials’ lax supervision of the nutraceutical market. These concerns are expected to make regulators issue even tougher rules under the Regulation on Supervision and Administration of Functional (Health), which will be issued by the Sino FDA this month. These regulations will cover both functional/health foods and supplements. Apart from scaling back the function claims producers are allowed to make, the regulation is intended to raise industry standards, and simplify the application processes, as well as strengthen penalties against illegal activities.

Ally Dai
Happi China

Ally Dai is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Ringier Trade Media Ltd, responsible for trade publications including Happi China. She has more than 10 years of experience in the cosmetic and food industries. Happi China is a leading media for the China household & personal care industry. Published by Ringier Trade Media in strategic editorial partnership with Happi, it helps local manufacturers update their knowledge on formulating, testing and packaging, as well as providing market insight.
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