China: Strengthened Control of Food Additives

Posted By: Selerant RSA

Over the recent years, China’s national and states’ food and drug supervision departments have been putting focus on the supervision of food additive producers.

Although the quality and safety of food additives have improved over the last years, several recent events and food scandals linked with food additives have shown that there are still safety risks present associated with the food additives in China. In order to tackle the issue of enhanced supervision of the safety of food additives, CFDA published Notice on Further Strengthening the Supervision of the Production of Food Additives [2016] No. 96 (in Chinese) on 20 July, 2016. The Notice is mainly designated to states’ food and drug supervision departments and guides them in enforcing food safety regulations.

Stricter Policies on Food Additive Production License

All the producers of food additives have to obtain the production license, according to Food Safety Law of the People's Republic of China and Food production license management approach (CFDA Order No. 16) (in Chinese). CFDA has requested food additives manufacturing enterprises to provide information on production processes, raw materials and product formulations. The national or local food and drug supervision departments shall review the information provided, assessing their compliance with national and states’ standards. The emphasis will be placed on the raw material compliance, production processes, product names and test methods that must be compliant with the respective standards.

Production Rules and Labeling of Additives

Non-food materials are strictly banned for the production of food additives. For example, unknown sources or unqualified edible or industrial gelatin are prohibited to be used as raw materials for edible gelatin.

Food additives that are labelled on products should be strictly in accordance with the Food Safety Law of the People's Republic of China and national and states’ food safety standards. Food additives’ names should use the generic name of national standards and be approved by China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission. Food additives need to be specified as "food additives” on the package labels. Storage conditions, the use of the name and address of the producer, food additive usage have to be indicated on the package.

Increased Sampling & Monitoring

States’ food and drug supervision departments are asked to enhance the supervision and control of food additives by sampling and monitoring. The emphasis should be put on edible gelatin, complex food additives and food flavors. The departments shall order the manufactures to stop production immediately and recall the products when a risk associated with the product or process has been reported.

Establishing Traceability Systems for Additives

National and states’ food and drug administration departments shall guide food additive producers to establish food safety traceability system within a period of two years. Food additive manufacturers have to be able to trace back the source of raw materials, identify production processes and track products, accurately record product number in order to ensure reliable traceability for all production processes.