The PRC State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) recently issued Guidelines on Disclaimers and Labeling for Health Food (the "Guidelines"), with effect January 1, 2020. The Guidelines provide detailed requirements for disclaimers on health food packaging, including location, size, font, height of characters, and that the disclaimer shall contain the statement "Health food is not drugs and not a substitute for drugs for disease". This disclaimer must also be displayed in physical locations and internet platforms where the health food is sold. Note that "health food" in the Chinese context has a narrower definition than in some other regions, meaning as foods with a functional health claim but do not have the purpose of treating diseases.
The Guidelines also require that the production date and use by period of the health food be clearly marked on the sales package, along with the producer's service hotline.
The Guidelines do not have mandatory effect, but they do provide detailed guidance as to the government's emerging expectations for health food labeling in an industry that has suffered numerous scandals and is subject to increasing government scrutiny.
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