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FDA urges clear information on 13 medical side effects

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) recently announced that an amendment to the current Health Food Control Act (健康食品管理法) is currently underway and will require labeling and clarification on 13 medical side effects.

The FDA stated that as a result of numerous health food companies using loopholes for economic gain, the amendment is now a necessity to protect consumers. The draft of the preliminary amendment requires companies to describe all aspects of a medication's side effects.

Since the launch of the Health Food Control Act, the FDA has constantly updated its policies that govern health effects assessment methods, said the FDA's Director of the Food Safety Division Pan Chih-kuan (潘志寬). As such, the amendment will likely ask companies to refrain from exaggerating in their advertisements, Pan said.

According to executive official Chou Pei-ju (周珮如) of the division, companies have been known to falsely declare the actual effects of their health products. Following prosecutions, these companies would argue over the ambiguity on their product labels, causing difficulty during trials.

The newly announced draft eliminates loopholes and states that 13 specific types of health effects must be clearly labeled with no room of exaggeration. All statements and descriptions must also be straight forward, and ambiguity will not be acceptable.

Any production or import of unauthorized substances as well as improper labeling of health food products without a permit or approval, will be fined up to NT$1 million. Offenders could be sentenced to three years' imprisonment as well, said Chou.

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