Established in April 2005, the Hong Kong Health Food Association (HKHFA) is a non-profit organization representing the interest of its members and the local health food industry. The HKHFA aims at fostering the well-being of the public. It encourages the industry to exercise self-discipline and at the same time promotes communication between the government, the industry and the consumer.
The Origin of the Hong Kong Health Food Association
The government has published a Consultation Paper entitled “Regulation of Health Claims” on 26 September 2003. The consultation period ended on 15 November 2003 allowing only 7 weeks for reply. The Paper proposed the addition of a new Schedule 4 to the ‘Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance, Chapter 231’ (UMAO) and including 13 types health claims of orally consumed products into the new Schedule. Whenever needed, the Director of Health would have the power to amend the Schedule and to extend its coverage to other products or services. The Apart from the existing law enforcement departments, the Director of Health would have the power to authorize public officers to be inspectors to enforce the relevant provisions of the UMAO.
Owing to disagreements among members of the Panel on Health Services as well as the industry, the House Committee of the Legislative Council decided to set up Bills Committee to focus the discussion on 6 types of health claims. In view of the close of Legislative year, The Bill had to be re-submitted to the Council in 2005.
If the new legislation is passed, the business viability of the health food industry will be severely threatened. At that time, there was not any organization to represent the industry to speak out their concern and difficulties to the government. Therefore, several health food companies had joined together to establish the Hong Kong Health Food Association, which was incorporated on 13 April 2005.Before the inception of the Hong Kong Health Food Association, the pre-council of the Association initiated the formation of UMAO Concern Coalition, which is a cross industry alliance with 10 other trade Associations. The purpose is to widen the representation and lobby the Government and the Legislative Council with more power.
The Coalition has submitted joint declaration letter to the Bills Committee on 25 April 2005.
A press conference was held on 20 May 2005 to express industry’s concern and demands against the Bill.
Subsequently, the Coalition sent a joint letter to the 60 Legislative Councilors individually on 15 June before the House Committee to review the Bill on 19 June.
HKHFA strives to become an authoritative and publicly trusted organization with wide industry representation and international vision.
HKHFA’s mission is to campaign for the equitable rights and stature of its members, to foster a remarkable business environment for the industry and to provide consumers with the knowledge of the safe use of health food products.
As to The Members
To proactively participate in government’s policy-making process relating to the regulation of health food, to ensure that the industry is adequately consulted before and during the process of legislation, and to effectively convey members’ views and concerns regarding changes in policies and regulations.
To aggressively lobby the government and the Legislative Council on regulatory issues affecting members.
As to Market
To respond quickly to news and events involving health food, and/or to issue expert statements on related issues in order to protect the interest of members and the industry, as well as to safeguard public health.
To keep members abreast of advances in new product development and health food sciences occurring around the world through newsletters, international symposiums and local seminars.
As to the Consumers
To gain the trust of the public and the Government by promoting practice guidelines to members and the industry, and by advocating the importance of self-discipline.
To promote public education on the safe and proper use of health food products through the collaboration with local organizations and media, thereby creating a knowledge-based consumer market.