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Food Safety Standard in China

Updated:2015-04-10 Clicks:14497

Food safety standards are technical regulations that stipulate the provisions regarding the hazards in food that could have adverse impacts on consumers’ health. Food Safety Law mandates the terms of reference for food safety standards, and identifies them as the only “mandatory standards” related to food. As with food safety regulations issued by other countries, the principles of food safety risk analysis are applied to the draft of the Chinese food safety standards. In order to determine the health protection level that best suits our country, the food safety standards are built based on food safety risk assessment, taking into account of the development of economy and the reality of food manufacture and trade.

Food safety standards are promulgated by different levels of administrative agencies. National food safety standards are promulgated by National Health and Family Planning Commission and Ministry of Agriculture, covering 8 parts:

1. Limitations on the levels of pathogens, pesticides residues, veterinary drug residues, heavy metals, contaminants and other hazardous substances in food and food-related products;

2. Food additives, their usage and maximum use levels;

3. Nutritional requirements of special dietary food for infants and other specific population groups;

4. Labeling principles related to food safety and nutrition;

5. Hygienic requirements on the manufacture and trade processes;

6. Quality provisions related to food safety;

7. Methods for food inspection and testing;

8. Others.

The 8 parts could also be grouped into 4 types:

——horizontal standards, formed by mainly Parts 1, 2 and 4;

——commodity standards, formed by mainly Parts 3, 6 and 8;

——code of practices, formed by mainly Part 5;

——methods of testing and inspection, formed by mainly Part 7.

According to Administrative Measures on National Food Safety Standards, the development of a National Food Safety Standard includes programming, planning, initiating, drafting, commenting, reviewing, approving and proclaiming, amending and reexamining. The 8-step procedure is described in detail below.

1. Programming

The National Health and Family Planning Commission will release a call-for-proposals that any organization or individual may answer.

2. Planning

After consulting with National Committee for Food Safety Standards and circulating a draft plan on-line for comments, National Health and Family Planning Commission publishes the annual plan.

3. Drafting

Organizations with the capability to develop the specific National Food Safety Standards is chosen and the draft is prepared.

4. Commenting

The draft is circulated for comments by mail and on-line. The World Trade Organization notification is filed at the same time. The comments are collected and studied by the drafting organization, and the draft is to be modified.

5. Reviewing

The National Committee for Food Safety Standards reviews the drafts.

6. Approving and Proclaiming

The National Health and Family Planning Commission approves the standard and releases the standards on-line as a proclamation.

7. Amending

The National Health and Family Planning Commission organizes National Committee for Food Safety Standards and other agencies and organizations to conduct follow-up studies and examination on the implemented provisions. Amendments to existing National Food Safety Standards are published as proclamations in a small number of cases where this proves necessary.

8. Reexamining

National Food Safety Standards are to be reexamined by National Committee for Food Safety Standards when appropriate, such as when questions concerning the validity, revision, or repeal of the standard are raised.

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