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China National Food Safety Standard – Packaged Drinking Water

China’s Department of Food Safety Standard, Risk Surveillance and Assessment, National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) has published new requirements for packaged drinking water products.

National food safety standard GB 19298-2014[1] – Packaged Drinking Water, was published on 24 December 2014 and will come into effect on 24 May 2015. The standard is applicable to all packaged water products destined for direct consumption, excluding natural mineral water products. GB 19298-2014 will replace GB 19298-2003 – Hygienic Standard of Bottled Water for Drinking and GB 17323-1998 – Bottled Purified Water for Drinking, harmonising China’s regulation of packaged water products.

The standard for natural mineral water will be further revised by national food safety standard GB 8537 – Drinking Natural Mineral Water.

Labelling requirements

The GB 19298-2014 standard includes labelling requirements (4.1 and 4.2) that will come into effect on 1 January 2016.

There are two main raw water sources for packaged drinking water:

  • Public water supply systems
  • Non-public (namely surface or ground water) supply systems

There are clear requirements in the new standard that are applicable to packaged water products originating from both of these sources. Labels such as, “this product includes food additive for taste adjustment”, should be placed close to the product name on the label. This requirement applies to additives such as magnesium sulphate, zinc sulphate, calcium chloride, potassium chloride and other additives used during the production process.

Product naming

To meet the requirements of the new standard, the name given to a packaged drinking water product should be scientifically correct. It is not permissible to name a product by one, or several, ingredients, except for water. The misleading practice of using creative marketing descriptions for aquatic products will be regulated.


The most important change of the standard concerns the requirements for microorganisms. While the product standard has added a requirement on pathogen microorganism Pseudomonas Aeruginosa as well as keeping those on coliform germs. It no longer includes requirements on total bacteria, mould and yeasts count, Staphylococcus Aureus, Salmonella or Shigella.

With food safety services located in over 60 countries worldwide, SGS is one of the leading providers of brand protection and risk management services to food producers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and hospitality service providers. Maintaining integrity in the supply chain is at the core of our vision and values. With a holistic approach to product and process safety and quality, our renowned global network of field, laboratory and project management staff work with industry leaders to help reduce their risk of producing and/or selling defective and contaminated product. For further information on our full range of services, please contact your SGS local office or visit our website http://www.sgs.com/en/Agriculture-Food/Food.aspx.

Email SGS Hong Kong Ltd. at mktg.hk@sgs.com for enquiries or visit http://www.sgsgroup.com.hk/.


[1] GB 19298-2014

Content provided by SGS Hong Kong Limited
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