CHINA – The National Health Commission of China (NHC) and the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) have jointly announced the adoption of 47 new national food safety standards (Guo Biao standards – GB) along with amendments to existing documents.

These standards are set to have far-reaching implications not only for domestic food products but also for imports entering the Chinese market.

The recent implementation of new standards in the food industry includes several key highlights. One notable standard is the Dairy Products Standard (GB 19644-2024), which establishes technical requirements for milk powder and modified milk powder products.

These requirements cover aspects such as raw materials, organoleptic properties, physico-chemical parameters, impurities, mycotoxins, microorganisms, and labeling, and became effective from February 2025.

Another significant standard, the Materials in Contact with Food (GB 4806.15-2024), imposes additional restrictions on adhesives used in food contact materials, emphasizing physico-chemical parameters and labeling requirements, also effective from February 2025.

The Quality and Safety Testing Methods standards include protocols for determining relative density, content of substances like arsenic, nickel, chlorpropanol, glycidyl esters, dioxin, lactoferrin, and residual solvent content in food contact materials, effective from February 2024.

The Microbiological Testing standards, encompassing 16 standards, focus on testing for pathogens such as Salmonella, Cronobacter, E. coli toxin, and outline sampling requirements for various food products, effective from August 2024.

Lastly, the Food Additives Standards comprise 22 standards, with the main Standard on Food Additives (GB 2760-2024) effective from February 2025, and others governing technical requirements and test methods effective from August 2024.

It’s worth noting that these standards are not limited to domestic producers but also apply to imported food products, emphasizing China’s commitment to ensuring high food safety standards across its market.

Mandatory nature and global significance

China’s food safety standards are classified into mandatory and recommendatory categories, with the former having the force of law. These standards cover a wide array of issues such as contaminants, pesticides, food additives, labeling, packaging, and manufacturing practices.

The prefix code “GB” indicates the mandatory nature of the standards, highlighting their crucial role in protecting human health and ensuring food safety.

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