Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Health Food?

Health food is defined as a non-conventional food that is intended to maintain or promote health. Its ingredient(s) could be one or any combination of the following: A vitamin , a mineral, an herb or other botanical, an amino acid, a dietary substance, a concentrate, or a metabolite constituent or extract for suitable for human consumption and maintaining or improving health. Health food can come in different forms, such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids, and powders. It must not be represented for use as a conventional food or as a sole item of a meal.

Does health food / supplement product require registration in Hong Kong?

Generally speaking, health food products are not regulated in Hong Kong. However, if the product presents in pharmaceutical dosage forms, and contains either Chinese traditional medicinal herbs or vitamins and fall within the definition of Chinese proprietary medicine or pharmaceutical product, the formulation has to be registered as Chinese proprietary medicine or over-the-counter pharmaceutical product respectively.

Is there any restriction in advertising health food products in Hong Kong?

Promotion and advertisement of health food are regulated by Hong Kong Law “Chapter 231 Undesirable Medical Advertisement Ordinance”. Both the prohibited and relaxed medical claims are displayed in the schedules of the Ordinance.

What forms of advertisement are regulated?

Advertisement includes any notice, poster, circular, label, wrapper or document, and any announcement made orally or by any means of producing or transmitting light or sound.

What is the scope that is regulated by the Undesirable Medical Advertisement?

The sale or supply, or offer or exposure for sale or supply, of any-medicine; surgical appliance; or treatment in a labelled container or package shall constitute the publication of an advertisement. Medicine includes any kind of medicament or other curative or preventive substance, and whether a proprietary medicine, a patent medicine, a Chinese herbal medicine, a proprietary Chinese medicine, or purported natural remedy.