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[Update] More Stringent Supervision for the Labeling and Promotion of Solid Beverage in China

According to the updated supervision, the proper name “solid beverage” should be obviously indicated nearby the product name of the solid beverage products. Besides, the package should indicate the warning that “this product cannot replace special food including food for special medical purposes, infant formula food and health food”. Solid beverage products are not allowed to involve diseases prevention, therapy and healthcare function.

[updated] On May 20, 2022, SAMR announced to postpone the date of implementing "Announcement regarding Strengthening the Quality and Safety Supervision of Solid Beverage". Affected by COVID-19, some solid beverge manufacturers reflected that quite a few old package materials were remained because the production plan was disrupted. Therefore, the government decided that the manufacturers can use the current pakcage till Dec. 31, 2022 if those materials cannot be used up prior to June 1st, 2022.

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[Update] On Jan. 7th, 2022, SAMR unveiled the announcement regarding strengthening the quality and safety supervision of solid beverage, which will be implemented on June 1st, 2022.

Compared with the exposure draft issued on June 15th, 2021, the major changes lie in that:

  1. The final version clarified that protein solid beverage, plant solid beverage, solid beverage for special uses, flavored solid beverage, and the minimum sales unit of solid beverage containing edible fungus should additionally indicate the warning that “this product cannot replace special food including food for special medical purposes, infant formula food and health food”. The color of the word should be obviously different from its background.

  2. Any message like “this product is suitable for certain groups including the minors, the elderly, the pregnant and maternal women, the patients and population having nutrition risks or suffering malnutrition through words or graphics” are not allowed to be showed or implied on the label and in the specification and promotional materials. Notably, “the pregnant and maternal women” is newly included in the latest announcement.

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As revealed by SAMR notification issued on June 15, 2021, the competent authority proposed to strengthen the quality and safety supervision of solid beverage, which mainly focused on its label and promotion. Enterprises/stakeholders will be given a grace period after the these measures coming into effect. Any comments can be sent to zhishichu@samr.gov.cn before July 14, 2021.

The exposure draft stipulates that solid beverage’s product name cannot be the same as or similar to the name of any registered special food (including infant formula, health food, food for special medical purpose). “Solid beverage”, the proper name that reflects the food’s true nature, should be clearly indicated nearby the product name with the maximum font size in that display panel. Additionally, the same display panel should indicate the warning that “this product cannot replace special food including food for special medical purposes, infant formula food and health food”, whose size should occupy no less than 20% of that panel.

Regarding the limitations for the promotion, any message like “this product is suitable for certain groups including the minors, the elderly, the patients and population having nutrition risks or suffering malnutrition through words or graphics” are not allowed to be showed or implied on the label and in the specification and promotional materials. Besides. it is strictly forbidden to indicate or suggest diseases prevention, therapy function, healthcare function to satisfy special demands for specific disease population by mentioning specific production techniques or certain food raw materials.

The release of the strengthened supervision is associated with the recent food safety accidents caused by the false promotion of solid beverage. Driven by the huge profits, some enterprises sold solid beverage as special food, targeting at specific diseases groups and declaring that it has specific function. In May 2020, a TV program reported that a protein solid beverage named “Bei An Min (倍氨敏)" was crookedly advertised as an alternative to infant formula for those allergic to normal milk powder. After consumption, five babies were diagnosed as having an adverse reaction. Such illegal practice is not an isolated case in China (click here for more details).

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