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China tightens raw materials laws for supplements makers

By Shane Starling , 21-Mar-2011

Dietary supplement manufacturers operating in China will have to do more to guarantee the quality of their supply chains, after Chinese authorities imposed new quality control regulations last week.

China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) has set in place a range of measures to boost quality of end-products and avert contamination problems that have caused the local industry image problems at home and abroad.

The measures – including greater numbers of inspections and tighter guidelines on raw materials record keeping – would, further enhance the supervision on raw materials for health foods and ensure the quality and safety of health foods,” the SFDA said on its website.

The new rules would improve, “the supervision on health food raw materials in accordance with the Food Safety Law and its implementation regulations.

The SFDA was not available for further detail but reports in the Chinese press said supplement manufacturers would be subject to regular SFDA inspections which would demand to see detailed records of raw material purchases.

Local inspections will look out for those manufacturers that draw raw materials from, “expensive and rare extractions from animal and plants and imported raw materials” reported Xinhua.

The SFDA said it would also target manufacturers that use, “substandard raw materials”. Those found to do so would be, “severely punished” and transgressors would be publicised and distribution of products stopped.

The new rules come in a year the Chinese government has pledged to increase regulation of the dietary supplements industry as the use of dietary supplements increases among the Chinese population.

Along with quality control measures, the government is also targeting exaggerated marketing of products such as Traditional Chinese Medicines and other dietary supplements and functional foods.