CHINA - REVISED DRAFT OF THE PRC FOOD SAFETY REGULATION SUBMITTED TO WTO. ANALYSIS OF ITS INFLUENCE ON OVERSEAS FOOD COMPANIES

This August, the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) officially notified the “Regulation on the Implementation of the Food Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China (revised draft)” (hereafter referred to as the “draft”) to World Trade Organization (WTO). The draft is a detailed refinement of the current Chinese food safety law framework with some elements have a great potential impact on overseas food factories & exporters. The following provides an overview of those changes which might have to be taken into account.

1.      The Influence on imported foods for which there are no applicable national food safety standards in China

The import of foods for which no national standards exist under Chinese law will be restricted. Essentially, they will have to await the introduction of specific standards. The draft did however exclude the categories mentioned in general food safety standards, such as GB2760. This is positive for some products which before could not be imported, as for example for whey cheese.

At the moment, those who want to export to China without the existence of Chinese standards (e.g. cereal or sport bars) may submit the original or international standards to the Health Department administration of the State Council. The products may be imported into Chine once it is defined that they comply with food safety requirements. This may be positive as well for some products sold overseas but which before were not allowed for importation in China.

In addition, the China national food safety standards are updated and revised constantly. It is of importance that importers pay close attention to the progress of formulation and revision of the national food safety standards. Those products which cannot be imported to China will have standards soon. Take lactic acid as an example, it was only allowed to be imported in powdered form before 2016, after the standard revised recently lactic acid in liquid is also allowed to be imported.

2. Influence on special foods; including infant formula/health foods/food for special medical purposes

The labeling of infant formula and young children food:

1)     Shall indicate the specific source of raw materials

2)     Shall not name the presence of optional ingredients (optional nutrients can be found in GB10765 and GB10767), like DHA xx formula, taurine XX formula food

3)     Functional claims are forbidden to be used

4)     shall be in accordance with the registered or filed label

Importers of health foods and food for special medical purposes will be required to provide a registration certificate for these special food.

3. Food safety control measures for overseas food manufactures

In the occurrence of food safety incidents due to tampered materials provided by registered overseas food manufactures, or as a result of other attributable reasons, the national inspection and quarantine departments shall revoke registration and make a public announcement.

Therefore, be informed that related enterprises authorized in China should pay close attention to the formulation and revision dynamics of the laws and regulations of certification system. Adjustments should be made in time to ensure accordance with the latest requirements of the Chinese certificate system.

When found that imported food do not meet the statutory requirements, the overseas food manufactures , exporters, importers, inspection person, and agents will be included in the list of bad records; the ones that have illegal acts and subject to administrative penalties, can be included in the list of illegal enterprises.

4. Food safety incidents occurring outside China

According to the draft, China entry-exit inspection and quarantine departments can promptly carry out control measures including warnings, return or destruction of the goods, suspension or prohibition to import once a food safety incident has occurred outside of China but which may have an impact on the Chinese territory. In addition, laws and regulations require overseas food manufacturers and importers to pay attention to major food safety incidents occurred abroad as much as possible, and to take preventive measure and make the necessary adjustments.