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China is Seeking Comments on the Draft Standard on the Labeling of Food Additives

Date: Oct 11, 2011

On September 30, 2011, the Ministry of Health (MOH) published a draft food safety standard on the labeling of food additives on its website. A copy of the draft is available at http://www.moh.gov.cn/publicfiles/business/htmlfiles/
mohwsjdj/s3594/201109/53078.htm
. All food additives, with the exception of flavors, will be required to comply with the standard. It will be a mandatory standard once it is promulgated. Comments on the draft should be submitted to MOH by October 30, 2011.

Up to this point, the labeling requirements for food additives have been governed by different regulations, administrated by different authorities. However, these requirements sometimes are vague and/or conflicting which has resulted in significant enforcement difficulties. MOH is attempting to clarify these issues and maintain consistency among regulations.

The draft imposes different labeling requirements depending on whether a food additive is intended for retail or non-retail. "Retail" as defined in the draft refers to sales that are directed to individuals or catering enterprises. A food additive for retail should declare on its label its name, ingredient list, scope of use, use level, method of use, date of manufacture, shelf life, storage of condition, net weight, packaging specification, name and address of manufacturer (locally-produced food additives)/distributor (for imported food additives), product standard code (not applicable for imported food additives), production license code (not applicable for imported food additives), warning statement (if needed). In contrast, a food additive which is sold to food/food additive processors and producers would be considered to be non-retail, and would be only required to label name, packaging specification, net weight, date of manufacture, shelf life, storage condition. It should be noted that Ingredient list and other labeling information (e.g., scope of use) may be provided on an instruction sheet or contract, rather than a declaration on the label compared with "retail."

The standard is recommended to be enforced in March 2012.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jenny Li (li@khlaw.com) at Keller and Heckman Shanghai Office.