China is looking to help domestic manufacturers and consolidate market

China is looking to help domestic manufacturers and consolidate market

China has published new regulations on the production, registration and marketing of infant formula in the country.

The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) must approve the registration of any infant formula, including imports, before it can be sold. Moreover, only manufacturers that have a certain level of research and development capacity and comply with set "good manufacturing practices" for infant formula can apply for registration.

The move follows the introduction in 2010 by China's National Health and Family Planning Commission of the so-called good manufacturing practices for infant formula, although it was not made mandatory.

The new regulations also require that each manufacturer can only develop no more than nine recipes for three categories of formula - zero to six months, six to 12 months and 12 to 36 months. The goal is to control competition and help Chinese local infant formula brands get a foothold in the market. China now has 103 local infant formula manufacturers across the nation, which claim to have about 2,000 recipes in total.

The new regulation also bans vague descriptions about milk sources on labelling such as "imported milk sources" or "from farms overseas". Instead, the country origin has to be clarified. Misleading, exaggerated information, such as those indicating brain or immune system enhancement, as well as "no additives", is also banned from labels.

The rules will take effect on 1 October 1, giving manufacturers nearly four months to secure registrations.