The Vietnamese market is dominated by foreign health products. Because Vietnam is not yet specialized in the production of health products, Vietnamese customers are heavily dependent on foreign brands.
The Vietnamese market for health products started to grow late compared to other countries. The first import products into Vietnam came from China, South Korea, and the United States in the 1990s.
The market is experiencing a rapid rise every year due to the increasing demand for personal and health care products.
This article gives a comprehensive overview of the key points foreign investors should know in order to be successful from the first step of registration for health supplements in Vietnam.
Vietnam Food Administration (VFA), under the Ministry of Health, is the competent authority for all health products and supplements in Vietnam. This authority is responsible for collecting and approving registrations from investors who plan to sell their supplements in Vietnam. It also issues related regulations.
VFA updated the Guidance for the Implementation of a Few Articles in the Food Safety Law earlier 2018. It also outlined the responsibilities of agencies in relation to food safety inspection and audit.
What does it mean to be called a ‘Health Supplement’ in Vietnam?
Food is anything that humans consume. This does not include cosmetics, tobacco, or medical products.
There are many sub-definitions for different types of food like nutritional food, GMOs, fresh food and functional food.
Functional food is food that has been designed to improve and support the human body’s functions. It also provides nutrition to reduce pathogenic risks. Health supplements are important functional foods.
How do I register health supplements in Vietnam?
Before we move on to the registration process, let’s outline some requirements that entrepreneurs must meet if they want to register health supplements in Vietnam.
These are the main requirements for labelling supplements in Vietnam.
A product must be identified and the label must contain a phrase that identifies its sub-group, such as health supplements.
Labels must include information about the nutritional content, such as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids, or other biological substances.
The statement ‘This product does not constitute a medicine and is not effective to replace it’ must be printed on the label.
If the product name of a supplement is the same as its main ingredient, the label must indicate the ingredient’s quantity.
Safety and Hygiene
To be eligible to sell your products on the Vietnamese market and get your product licensed, you must meet the requirements for safety, health, and hygiene.
All firms and product owners must have The Certificate of Satisfaction on Standards for food hygiene and safety. Hygienic Environmental Requirements also state that all workshops, stores, processors and importers must have well-maintained premises for production, storage, and sales.
All employees, from sales to production, who come in direct contact with health supplements, must undergo regular health screenings to ensure that their health is up to the MoH standards.
These employees must also have a certificate of training. This is to ensure that employees are familiar with the requirements and processes for food safety and hygiene.
Health supplements being one of the sub-categories, all businesses producing and distributing health supplements in Vietnam are required to submit product self-declaration (also known as product declaration registration) to MoH.
The registration process for health supplements takes approximately 4 weeks from the date of dossier submission. The MoH certificate is not subject to a termination once it has been approved.
The mandatory documents for imports of health supplements include:
- Declaration form
- Original notarized copy of the food safety testing results of a product issued within 12 months of the date of submission by a designated laboratory, or a laboratory meeting ISO 17025
- Original or authenticated copy of scientific evidence proving the effects of products or ingredients. If scientific evidence is provided about the effects of ingredients, the daily dose must not exceed 15% of the amount of such ingredients as stated in the document.
- Certificate of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), or equivalent certificate. This certificate is valid starting 01/07/2019 (authenticated copy).
Talk to a professional
Registering for health supplements is a crucial step that will determine your success in Vietnam. We will help you find a trustful business partner or distributor to register your health supplement products in Vietnam and start selling them.
Tips to sell health supplements in Vietnam, click the link below: