According to the National Food Safety Standard – Health Foods, health food refers to food products which claim to have specific health functions or supplement vitamins or minerals intake. Health food is suitable for consumption by specific groups of people and regulates human body functions, but is not used for the purpose of treating disease. Furthermore, such food should not pose any acute, sub-acute or chronic hazard.
Classification of health food:
(a) Two categories
- Food with specific health functions: Food that shares common properties with general food that regulates human body functions, but is not used for treating diseases and is suitable for consumption by specific groups of people.
- Nutritional supplements: These products supplement nutrients, with vitamins and minerals as major ingredients. They include single-ingredient and multi-ingredient nutritional supplements.
(b) Three types
- Traditional health food: This refers to products which are prepared using traditional Chinese methods based on the concept of regulation and balance in traditional Chinese medicine.
- Modern health food: This refers to health products, which use nutrients or supplements as major ingredients.
- Functional health food: These products include those used for specific health purposes, such as nourishing the heart and the liver, improving sleep or facilitating digestion.