China regulates TCM ingredients

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China's drug watchdog has acted to regulate the 17 markets of traditional Chinese medicine ingredients (TCM) and banned the opening of new markets.

At Wednesday's press conference, the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, among eight central departments announced joint regulation on TCM ingredients.

Supervision of growing, processing and market management for medicinal herbs should be stepped up, said Li Guoqing, director of the CFDA's department of drug and cosmetics sales supervision.

According to the CFDA, improper use of pesticides and fertilizers has caused harmful substances to remain in TCM ingredients. Dyeing and counterfeiting problems have seriously affected TCM quality and harmed public health.

According to a CFDA inspection in Anhui, Gansu, Guangdong and Sichuan provinces, 22 batches of TCM, including saffron, of nearly 400 batches examined have the dyeing problem.

The announcement prohibited planting in inappropriate areas and the use of certain pesticides, antibiotics and fertilizers, especially animal hormones, plant growth regulators and herbicides.

It also banned fumigating herbs with sulfur, adding the amount of sulfur dioxide residue should accord with national standards.

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