CHINA - Under the new Food Safety Law a management system is gradually being introduced to regulate food imports, placing a legal burden on the importer to ensure the safety of food being brought into the country.
Local food importers now have an obligation to establish an audit regime on overseas suppliers, according to a Notice - which carries the force of law - published by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).
The measures impose heavy responsibilities on the local importer to ensure the safety of food products that they plan to distribute in China, and require them to preform on-site audits of overseas suppliers’ facilities at least once every three years. These on-site inspections can be authorized to an accredited third party organisation.
Food incidents taking place overseas (e.g., food recall in foreign countries) will be monitored, according to food category and safety risk level, taking into account various factors (e.g., food safety risk, safety control capability of the enterprise, and food safety condition of the exporting country/region) which may in turn result in further control measures such as import restriction, import suspension, goods returned or destruction, by the Chinese authorities.
Violations can result in substantial penalties, including fines in the order of between five to 10 times the retail value of commodities which value exceeds RMB 10,000.
About the Food Safety Law
After several drafts and two rounds of public consultation in 2013 and 2014, the revised Law was passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China on 25th April 2015.
The Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has begun to release supporting legislation following the introduction of China’s new Food Safety Law which entered into force on 1st October 2015.
Considered the most stringent Food Safety Law ever passed in China, a statement from CFDA states that the amended Law mandates “the most precise standards, the strictest administration, the harshest accountability system, and the gravest punishment” to regulate food and food related products in China.
The revised Law contains 154 articles – this is 50 more than the 2009 version introducing many new regulatory requirements.
New provisions include tightened general requirements for food and food additives, but also specific requirements for food-related products and other product categories - GM foods, health foods, infant and young children formula, formulated food for special medical purposes, each of which will have its own additional implementation regulations.
Available for free download, the current issue of Packaging Business Insight Asia contains a detailed analysis of China’s Food Safety Law. Click here for more information.
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