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Regulation of Health Food Management

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After the trend changing in Japan and in the USA, in Taiwan, making a law to regulate health food became urgent. Therefore, in 1996, the Ministry of Health and Welfare entrusted Nutrition Society of Taiwan to do researches on the management of health food. They had held several public hearings to collect opinions from experts, legislators, and industry groups. Health Food Control Act was finally passed in December 1998. After that, “Health Food” has officially become a legal term. On 3rd August 1999, Health Food Control Act was promulgated. The legislation stipulates no food shall be manufactured or imported unless it is issued a permit. We will talk about the Health Food Permit in another session.
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To enhance the management and supervision of matters relating to health food, protect the health of the entire nation and safeguard the rights and interests of consumers, the health authority has enacted a series of legislations, such as Pharmaceutical Affairs Act, Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, Standards for Specification, Scope, Application, and Limitation of Food Additives. So here is a table of health food’s official definition in Japan, the USA, China, and Taiwan. Since health food is a fast-growth industry and it involves physical health, It’s important for governments to enact a law to regulate the industry as soon as possible. Among all the categories of health foods, functional food might be the most popular one.
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It’s developed by combining interdisciplinary technologies and designed for specific nutrition needs. More and more products are developed to satisfy the demand of health conscious consumers. As I said, there are many types of health food. Next, I will briefly introduce them and give some simple examples to help you understand the difference between each type. I roughly classified health food into 4 types. Products made by microbial extracts, products extract from plants, products extract from animal organs, and products without extraction or added in other foods. The first type includes products made by microbial extracts. Microorganism such as chlorella, spirulina, lactic acid bacteria, Ganoderma lucidum, Monascus purpureus and some fungi are classified into this type.
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These direct-abstracted or direct-additive products to the food all belong to microorganisms. The second type refers to plant extracted products. We all know fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients. So there are a variety of products in this type. These products can be extracts from leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, and seeds. These products are very similar to traditional Chinese herbal. The third type of health food is the product extract from animal organs Foods like royal jelly, fish oil that I have mentioned previously, chicken essence, edible bird’s nest are included in this type. By using tech to improve processing, many substances can be mass-produced and be directly consumed or added in other food. A well-known substance is dietary fiber.
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Many bottled tea on the market are added dietary fibers and claim they can improve digestion. Most of these added dietary fibers are synthesized. There are more categories if we classify products in this type in terms of the material, such as vitamins, minerals bioactive substance, honey, lactic acid bacteria, oils and so on. There are so many foodstuffs can be advertised as health food. Consumers must be very careful to check the label of products in case of consuming something harmful.

Prof. Huang will continue to tell the history of how the Taiwan government made the regulation of food safety.

Then he explains how the government set the regulation to enhance the management and supervision of matters relating to health food. A table of health food’s official definition in Japan, the USA, China, and Taiwan is being presented.

Since health food is a fast-growth industry and it involves physical health, It’s important for governments to enact a law to regulate the industry as soon as possible. Among all the categories of health foods, functional food might be the most popular one.

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