Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) attended a "Workshop of Healthfood Regulation and Supervision" last week in Beijing at the invitation of the event's sponsor, the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA).
In March 2013, the National People's Congress of China acted to reorganize and consolidate the country's food and drug regulatory agencies into CFDA as a new ministerial-level agency. Health foods in China, which include products that would be classified as dietary supplements in the U.S., were previously regulated under the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), but SFDA has now been merged into CFDA.
China is also considering amendments to its Food Safety Law, the statute under which health foods have been regulated since 2009. The purpose of the workshop, which also included representatives from Canada, Korea and the European Union, was to provide information to CFDA on the diverse ways that health and supplement products are regulated in each of these countries in preparation for the impending change in China's Food Safety Law. Representatives of the National People's Congress were also in attendance.
"I am honored to have represented the United States supplement industry at this important meeting," stated McGuffin. "It was clear in the workshop that CFDA intends to be well informed on international regulations, and I am hopeful that the agency will create a regulatory system that enhances the effectiveness of its food safety supervision and ensures consumer health, while it also maintains China's robust marketplace for health foods."