CHINA – The China National Health Commission (NHC) together with the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) have unveiled 36 new national food safety standards and 3 amendment ones.

The 36 new standards include 1 standard for contaminants limit, 3 for food products, 3 for food-related products, 9 for nutritional fortifiers, 9 for food testing methods and 11 for food additives.

This is the first batch of national food safety standards issued by the NHC since September 2021.

The standard GB 7101-2022 for beverages expands the application scope to cover novel types of beverages such as drinks containing soybean protein.

Likened to the current version, the updated one details the definition, revises the microbial limits, and clarifies the labeling requirement for beverage containing strains, as reported by REACH24H.

For the dairy products like condensed milk and cheese, the new standard GB 13102-2022 has been put in place.

GB 13102-2022 for Condensed Dairy Products adds the technical requirements for condensed milk for food industrial use as well as low-fat and skimmed condensed milk products. The amendment makes up the regulation vacancy of those novel products.

On the other hand, GB 13102-2022 for Processed Cheese and Cheese Products increases the minimum cheese level for processed cheese from 15% to 50%. Besides, a new category named “cheese product” is included, whose cheese content ranged from 15% to 50%.

The standards for Food Contact Materials (FCM) GB 4806.8-2022 and GB 4806.12-2022  have also been amended. GB 4806.8-2022 for Paper and Paperboard in Contact with Foodstuffs defines silicone paper as one kind of paper articles, and updates the migration index and residue limits.

Meanwhile GB 4806.12-2022 for Bamboo and Wood in Contact with Foodstuffs has filled the gap of legislative supervision on food contact bamboo and wood articles.

Contaminants (lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, chromium, benzo[a]pyrene, and polychlorinated biphenyls) limits in food have also been revised with the issuance of GB 2762-2022.

Foods will henceforth be subject to stringent limits of contaminants, especially the maximum level of lead. The lead limits in most foods are tightened, including infant formula, dairy products, meat and products thereof.

On June 1, 2022, NHC opened the comment period for the draft of 2022 National Food Safety Standard Legislation Plan until June 10, 2022 which initially involved 41 national food safety standards.

The draft had among many other standards, proposed the formulation of a standard for acorn shell brown so as to give it more specifications and testing methods. Acorn shell brown is a food additive that is approved for use as a colorant in cola-type carbonated drinks and compound wine within certain limits.

The proposal has unfortunately not seen the light of day in the officially approved document.

The first Food Safety Law in China was promulgated in 2009 consequent to the melamine crisis in 2008, and revised in 2015, with specific emphasis on risk analysis.

NHC and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs are jointly responsible for  development and promulgation of new and revised food safety standards.

As of 1 November 2021,  the two bodies had put in place 1,294 mandatory national food safety standards, as recorded by Regulatory Focus.

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