A few days ago, Liu Xuecong, secretary-general of China Nutrition and Health Food Association, pointed out in a public speech that the functional evaluation of health food is still controversial. He emphasized that currently there are 27 health food functions approved by the state, among which 16 functions, such as helping to reduce blood fat, lowering blood sugar and anti-oxidation, have been evaluated by animals and human beings, while 7 functions, such as improving immunity, only need to be evaluated by animals, which is easy to be questioned. Due to the lack of assessment system and exit mechanism, scope and evaluation method cannot realize the dynamic management of science, cannot effectively play a leading role in the evaluation of scientific evidence on the health care function, part of the health care function and evaluation method of existing positioning inaccurate and incomplete claims that the method is not rigorous, and scientific basis for such problems as insufficient.
Regulatory authorities have already paid attention to the shortcomings in this regard. At present, CFDA is formulating regulations such as application requirements for Registration Materials of Health Food, Opinions on The Management of Function Claims of Health Food (draft for comments), and Detailed Rules for The Filing of Health Food (draft for comments). The function of health food, especially at the end of last year that related documents for public opinion, put forward the organization study and establish the health care function evaluation guiding principles, guidelines specific test method requirements, not only clear test principle and the design basis, the principle of experiment “, randomized, double-blind, number the crowd into the standard and basic requirements, the result data statistics analysis, etc, the basic follow as guidance enterprise research and development validation. Enterprises can choose recommended functional evaluation methods or independently develop and adjust functional verification test methods to verify product efficacy based on the functional mechanism and research and development of products, and explain in detail in the application materials.
In this regard, The Industry Monitoring Center of Shuzheng Kangxun believes that the new functional evaluation model only puts forward the principle of technology evaluation, which gives enterprises a huge space for free play. Although it exceeds expectations, it will play an incentive role in enterprises’ innovation and investment.
Third party evaluation may be available
The Opinions on The Management of Functional Claims of Health Food, which were solicited before, put forward that, on the basis of the original comprehensive evaluation model of animal experiments, human consumption verification and scientific literature, it further emphasized the evaluation proportion of human consumption verification and scientific literature basis.
In the opinion of Zhou Hongming, visiting professor of EMBA at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and chief consultant of Lvskinny Group, the efficacy of health food can be evaluated from five dimensions: raw material link, production link, third-party evaluation agency, marketing communication and user experience.
“These five links link together to determine the overall effectiveness of a product evaluation, but the evaluation body is still different.” For example, Zhou said, the evaluation of raw materials and production links is mainly made by the relevant government regulatory departments, who check for consumers and make authoritative and credible evaluations. As for the evaluation of marketing communication and user experience, it is mainly realized through the user feedback of big data on the Internet, and the user is in charge. In today’s increasingly upgraded regulation and explosive growth of big data, the evaluation of the above two aspects will not become the bottleneck of the overall evaluation system.
From the perspective of enterprises and consumers, it is the third-party evaluation agency that is likely to have the “evaluation bottleneck”. Enterprises and consumers pay more and more attention to the third-party evaluation, and also more and more rely on it. The evaluation of the regulatory authorities is undoubtedly authoritative and objective, but it is closer to the “bottom line”, which ensures that all enterprises and products are in compliance with the law and standards. “Third-party reviews” are closer to “tournaments,” recommending the best businesses and products on each track. However, it must have credibility and objectivity, otherwise the third-party evaluation will become the bottleneck of the whole evaluation system.