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China to tighten food advertising & labelling regulations

China to tighten food advertising & labelling regulations, Asia packaging, China packaging, packaging legislation, food packaging
A new regulation for the advertising of food and food products that are put on sale in China has been issued by the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC).

The regulation provides detailed guidance on regulation of food advertising, capturing not only conventional foods – meat, vegetables, dairy products etc - but also health foods.

Under the draft Regulation, all prepackaged food labels must be directly printed, in the Chinese language, before it is imported and the use of ‘sticker’ or self-adhesive tables is expressly prohibited.

Negative claims such as “contains no…” or “non-use of….” substances that are actually prohibited by food safety national standards are banned – an example of this would be melamine, which is a banned substance.

Under the draft Regulation, an infant formula milk powder product with a label claiming “contains no melamine” will be prohibited, since the substance is already banned.

By the same token, food containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) that have applied for approval, but have not yet been approved by the Chinese government shall not bear a “non-GMO” label.

Additionally, food shall not be labelled with any pre-set amount of consumption or designated daily consumption - such as ‘drink a pint of milk a day’ - unless it is a health food, infant and young children formula food or foods for special medical purposes.

This article also specifies the label size, spacing between letters, font size, use of simplified or traditional characters etc.

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 25 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 1 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, fifty 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 the Food Safety Law.

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