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Alibaba Launches Technical Provisions on Prohibited Ingredients in Foods

  •   30 Apr 2019
  •    Anne Peng
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    • Alibaba has begun clamping down on illegal ingredients in foods sold online by rolling out a negative list and sampling measures. It will also dynamically expand the negative list.

    On April 11, 2019 China’s ecommerce behemoth Tmall publicized Technical Provisions on Prohibited Ingredients in Edible Products[1] and an auxiliary rule titled Detailed Rules for Sampling Inspection on Prohibited Ingredients in Edible Products[2]. The two normative documents were jointly drafted by a leading third-party testing and certifying agency Centre Testing International Group (CTI), Alibaba and Hangzhou Institute for Food and Drug Control in an effort to fight against illegal and harmful ingredients applied in foods sold online. They have been effective since April 21.

    Application scope: health-related products is focus

    The targets of Alibaba’s action are ordinary prepackaged foods, edible primary agricultural products, Chinese traditional medicine, and foods without specific category that are sold on ecommerce platforms affiliated to Alibaba. The documents do not apply to special foods including infant formula, food for special medical purposes or health foods but are applicable to health-related foods that do not require registration or filing.

    Negative list of prohibited ingredients

    Unless otherwise permitted by competent authorities, ingredients mentioned in negative list (see table below) should not be detected in any concentration.

    Table 1 Prohibited ingredients (excerpt)
    SNFunctionProhibited itemTest method
    1Obesity treatmentSibutramine, efedrina, fenfluramineCFDA supplementary test methods and items 2006004
    2Treatment of consumption thirstGlipizide, glibenclamide, phenforminCFDA supplementary test methods and items 2006005
    3Relieving swelling and painDiclofenac, aminopyrineCFDA supplementary test methods and items 2006006
    4Relieving cough and gaspTheophyllineCFDA supplementary test methods and items 2006007
    5Tranquilizer and sedativeDiazepam, clonazepamCFDA supplementary test methods and items 2006008
    6Strengthening kidney and erectile functionSildenafil, tadalafilCFDA supplementary test methods and items 2006009
    (for the full list, please contact our on-demand translation service)

    Foods not categorized are subject to extra sanitary requirements

    Apart from application scope, terms and definitions, basic requirements and negative list, Technical Provisions on Prohibited Ingredients in Edible Products also stipulate criteria of contaminants and microorganism to regulate food without specific standards for reference. Sanitary requirements will enter effect on July 11.

    Table 2 Maximum limit of heavy metal contamination
    ItemIndexTest method
    Lead/(mg/kg)2.0GB 5009.12
    Arsenic/(mg/kg)1.0GB 5009.11
    Mercury/(mg/kg)0.3GB 5009.17
    Table 3 Maximum limit of microorganism
    ItemSampling plan and limitTest method
    Liquid productSolid or semi-solid product
    Total number of colony /(CFU/g or mL)100030000GB 4789.2
    coliform count /(MPN/g or mL)0.430.92GB 4789.3 MPN counting method
    Mold and yeast(CFU/g or mL)50GB 4789.15
    Staphylococcus aureus0/25 g(ml)GB 4789.10
    Salmonella0/25 g(ml)GB 4789.4

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    ChemLinked Editor

    Expertise in Chinese food regulations and import issues and with insights into the market, especially in those sectors: dairy products, baby foods, beverages, health and nutrition foods.

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