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China Updated Food Safety Law

Photo: food
Photo: food

On 24 April 2015, the President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) signed the Presidential Decree No. 21, approved to publish the new version of “Food safety law of PRC”[1]. The first version of the “Food safety law of PRC” was approved on 28 February 2009 and replaced the “Food hygiene law of PRC” on 1 June 2009. The new version will be implemented on 1 October 2015.

The new law consists of 10 chapters with a total of 154 clauses. It is a very comprehensive act and explains and defines details on production responsibility, government duties, propagation and implementation, pesticides use, delating, risk monitoring and evaluation, production and management process, permission, process control, labeling, instruction books and advertisements, special food, testing, import and export, accident management, supervision, legal liability, term definition, etc.

Compared to the replaced law, special attention was taken to revise and update the following parts:

  • Prohibition of using highly-toxic pesticides on agricultural plants, such as: vegetables, fruits and Chinese medicinal herbs, etc.
  • Label and instruction books of health food should not contain claims on disease prevention and treatment functions. The description should be authentic, comply with the information in registered and filing documents, clarify suitable and unsuitable consumers, functional component or symbolic component and content, and should declare “This product cannot replace drugs”.
  • The recipe of infant formula milk powder should be registered in the China Food and Drug Administration state department. The recipe research report and other materials to prove the recipe’s scientific foundation.  Also its safety report should be provided when registered. It is forbidden to produce different brands of infant formula milk powder using the same recipe in the company and to produce infant formula milk powder by repacking from bulk to small bags.
  • Third parties of internet food transaction should register the true name of food trader, identify the food safety management responsibility of the trader; review the permission certificate if needed. The consumers can claim for compensation when their legitimate right was violated via a third party internet food transaction platform. If no information of true name, address and effective contact way of food trader is provided, the third party internet food transaction platform should compensate for it. After compensation, the third party internet food transaction platform has the right to request the food trader or manufacturer for compensation.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms should be indicated on the food label according to relevant regulations. If not there will be the possibility to confiscate illegal gains, implementation of production, equipment or raw materials as punishment. The maximum penalty will be 5 to 10 times of the value of goods. In cases of gross violation it will be ordered to stop production and doing business, up to revoke the license.

The new published food safety law is called by responsible authorities “the strictest in history”. It is expected to bring profound repercussions to China’s food industry in the future.

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 www.sgs.com/foodsafety.

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


[1] Food safety law of PRC (Chinese)

Content provided by SGS Hong Kong Limited
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