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Chinese watchdog cracks down on fake health supplements

By Ankush Chibber , 12-Apr-2012
Last updated on 13-Apr-2012 at 09:31 GMT

Ensuring Chinese supplements are actually good for the heart: China's SFDA
Ensuring Chinese supplements are actually good for the heart: China's SFDA

China's food and drug watchdog has identified 11 fake health supplements being sold in the country that contain banned chemical ingredients.

In a statement issued on April 1, China’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) warned consumers against purchasing certain ‘bogus’ health food products that it had been investigating.  Products were found to contain banned chemical ingredients.

All 11 products, a list of which is available on the local language site, falsified their purported health benefits, the SFDA said.

Among the products set to be banned by the SFDA is Tangshunin; a hypoglycemic agent in capsule form, manufactured by Zhejiang-based Fulaisen Bioengineering Company.

Increased local level inspection

In its statement, the watchdog ordered its regional agencies and province level food and drug administrations to increase inspections over the health supplements sector.

It also asked the provincial watchdogs to punish any of the producers of the 11 listed fakeries that have a manufacturing or corporate presence in their region.

A campaign will be launched to overhaul and regulate health supplements, the SFDA noted, in a bid to tackle this food safety problem at a producer level rather than at the retail end.

Sizeable reform task

Jeff Crowther, executive director of the US-China Health Products Association, told FoodNavigator-Asia that China’s supplements market needs this complete overhaul but that regulating such a sizeable market is a monumental task.

“The current regulatory system is holding the industry back from reaching its true potential… Real growth will only be realized with regulatory reform of the entire system,” Crowther said.

In turn, regulatory reform will encourage increased foreign and domestic investment in the market.

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