To review food regulatory updates that happened in 2020, ChemLinked picked out the top 10 most important updates and listed them below. Besides the regular regulatory updates, the influence of Covid-19 pandemic is an influential factor we have to reckon with this year, for it has influenced the importation and supervision measures of imported food and has also affected subsequent economic policies.
According to ChemLinked the Top 4-6 updates in 2020 are:
4. Second Consultation Draft of GB 28050 General Rules for Nutrition Labeling of Prepackaged Food
On August 31, 2020, NHC opened the second consultation drafts of “GB 28050 General Rules for Nutrition Labeling of Prepackaged Food” for public feedback. Compared to the 2018 draft, the scope of prepackaged food, which can be exempted from nutrition labeling, is revised. For example, the limit of surface area for food exempted from nutrition labeling is increased to 150 cm2 (for the total surface area) or 40 cm2 (for the largest surface area). Furthermore, descriptions like “cal,” “kcal” and “calories” are allowed for the labeling of energy. It is also optional to add the labeling calculated as per serving, involving 19 types of prepackaged foods.
5. Special Food Registration On-site Inspection Requirements (Interim)
On November 26, 2020, SAMR released the official version of “Special Food Registration On-site Inspection Requirements (Interim)”, which came into force on the same day. Compared to the 2019 consultation draft, most contents remain the same except for the following four revisions:
Particular requirements for health food were added. E.g. the registration application of health food should be classified into different risk levels based on the specific situations of the products. The inspection form of health foods will be determined based on the risk level classification.
Third-party institutes are not qualified to carry out the on-site inspection.
More notification forms were adapted to inform applicants of the on-site inspection schedule.
Follow-up measures were added after the on-site inspections.
6. Health food regulatory updates
For health foods subjected to the filing system:
Raw material: In Dec. 2020, China released the “Health Food Raw Material Directory — Nutrient Supplement”, which replaced the “Health Food Raw Material Directory (1st Batch) of 2016” and updated reference standards for some raw materials, supplements compound sources for current nutrients, and β-carotene is added as a nutrient for health food filing. (Read more) Moreover, five new functional ingredients were added into the health food raw material positive list in December. The five ingredients are coenzyme Q10, melatonin, fish oil, reishi shell-broken spore powder and spirulina. To health food using the five new functional ingredients as raw material, they can bear the corresponding function claims under the filing mechanism.
Function: The function claims for nutrient supplements have been updated too. The new function catalogue released in 2020 added a new nutrient β-carotene and new interpretation on health functions.
For health foods subjected to registration system:
At the end of October 2020, China SAMR published three health food-related technical guidelines for testing and assessment. They took effect immediately and replaced partial content of the 2003 Technical Standards (abolished in 2018). They are: Technical Guideline for Toxicological Testing and Assessment of Health Foods and Their Raw Materials (2020); Technical Guideline for Physicochemical and Hygienic Examination and Assessment of Health Food (2020) and Technical Guideline for Safety Testing and Assessment of Bacterial Strains Used in Health Food Raw Materials (2020).
Except for toxicological assessment and hygienic examination, the 2003 version included another essential part — Functional Testing and Assessment of Health Food, the replacement of which is still under consultation. In Nov. 2020, China released the consultation draft of function evaluation guideline. The draft of a new regulation, “Ethical Review Guideline”, was released on the same day, providing the reference of conducting human consumption trial.
The next article will tell the top 7-10 updates.