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SAMR Issues Guidelines for Naming of Health Food (Draft)

from CIRS by

China,Health Food,Guideline,Naming,Food,Registration

On 22 October, 2018, SAMR issued the Guidelines for Naming of Health Food (draft), comments can be submitted before November 16th, 2018. In order to help enterprises obtain the key information, CIRS interpreted the draft from three aspects: the basic requirements of health food naming, prohibited contents in the name, and the requirements for declaration and appraisal.

1. The basic requirements of health food naming

The name of health food shall: 1) be composed of trademark name, general name and attribute name, 2) follow one-product-one-name rule, 3) reflect the true nature of the product, and shall not involve any information about functions of disease prevention or treatment, and 4) not mislead or deceive consumers.

2. Prohibited contents in trademark and general name of health food


Prohibited contents



False meaning words

Containing ‘natural/nature’ or similar words while synthetic materials are present in the products; containing praise such as ancestral, imperial processing, palace, refined etc.


Exaggerated words

Po, ling, strong, special effect, full effect, efficient, quick effect, divine effect, etc.


Absolute meaning words

The most, the first, comprehensive, special, top, crown level, etc.


Words that express or imply disease prevention or treatment

Prescription, medicine, prevention, treatment, anti - inflammatory, blood circulation promoting, cough prevention, detoxification, various disease names, etc.


People’s names and specific population

Hua Tuo, Bian Que, Zhang Zhongjing, student, teacher, chief, handsome, pretty girl, etc.


Place names



Words and dialects that are not relevant to product characteristics and are not easily understood by consumers

Victory in all battles etc.


Human tissue, organs, cells and similar words

Brain, eye, heart, etc.


Other symbols except “®”

“·”, “+”, etc.


The name of health function or the words related to the health function (similar, homophonic, suggestive, etc.)

Removal of fat, stabilizing blood sugar, etc.


Vulgar or superstitious terms

Emperor, monarch, etc.


Letters and numbers (except vitamins and materials containing letters and numbers as required)



Containing similar sounds or similar names with a drug which has been approved for registration, unless the health food product is approved for registration before the drug, or it is named as a raw material name



Other words prohibited by laws and regulations


3. Requirements for declaration and appraisal of health food name

(1) Trademark name

The trademark name may use the registered or non-registered trademark, and shall conform to the provisions of the Trademark Law, and shall not express or imply (including homophonic words, similar words, etc.) the health function. For instance, "losing weight" for health function and "good figure/shape" for trademark name, etc.

(2) General name

  • For the health food need to be registered:

Named as raw materials

Names shall consistent with national standards, local standards or industrial standards. For example, "Tian qi" shall be standardized as "San qi".

Single raw material product

Named as the raw material name or the abbreviation of the raw material.

Compound ingredient product

It shall not be named with a single raw material. If it is named with the name or abbreviation of some raw materials, corresponding instructions and basis shall be provided.

The raw material is purified and extracted from animal or plant sources by special processes

It shall not be named as the animal or plant names of the sources of the substances. For example, "soybean isoflavone" and "soybean extract" shall not be named as "soybean".

Fungal health food

It shall be consistent with the List of Probiotics Available for Health Food. “XX edible fungi” can be the general name as well if it is not in the list.

Probiotic health food

a) If using probiotics in the List of Probiotics Available for Health Food and the List of Edible Bacteria as raw materials, named as "probiotics" or "XX probiotics";

b) If fructo-oligosaccharide and inulin are added to the raw materials, "probiotics fructo-oligosaccharide inulin powder" or "XX probiotics fructo-oligosaccharide inulin powder" or "XX probiotics" can be used as the general name.

Nutritional supplement product need to be registered

It shall be named as the name of raw material or nutrient itself. For example, "L- ascorbic acid sodium" or "vitamin C" can be the name, while "VC" or "Vc" cannot be the name.

In addition to the above situations, the corresponding explanation and basis shall be provided if the words indicating the product's characteristics are used, other than the raw material or the abbreviation of the raw material used as the general name or part of the general name.

  • For the health food need to be filed:

After entering the trademark name, raw material name and product dosage form in the health food filing system, the product names will be automatically generated by the system for selecting.

(3) Attribute name

The product classification attribute names or the attribute names specified in the General Rules of Chinese Pharmacopoeia shall be used, such as "biscuit" or "tablet", etc.

(4) Special note

There shall be sufficient basis for the indicated characteristics, which can be marked with brackets after the attribute name. For example, marking “XX (brand name) XX tablet (pineapple flavor)” if the pineapple flavor is the major flavor in the product. It can be marked according to the applicable population as well, such as “XX (brand name) XX tablet (ages 7-10)”.