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China Issues the Drafts of Two National Standards on Contamination Control of Acrylamide and Lead in Food

​The two mandatory national standards Contamination Control of Lead in Food (draft) and Contamination Control of Acrylamide in Food (draft) are trying to lower the amount of contaminants in food during the food production process.

As revealed by a notice on Sept. 16, 2021, China is now opening two national food safety standards to public feedback, namely, Contamination Control of Lead in Food and Contamination Control of Acrylamide in Food. Any opinion shall be sent to Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology (by scanning the QR Code attached in the notice) prior to Sept. 23.

Contamination control of lead in food

Since lead is ubiquitous in modern industrial societies, it is nearly impossible to totally get rid of lead in foods. However, the lead contamination can be reduced as far as possible by following good agricultural practice and good manufacturing practice.

At present, there is an effective national standard called GB/Z 23740-2009 Code of Practice for the Prevention and Reduction of Lead Contamination in Foods, which is a technical guidance document. Once the draft comes into effect, the standard Contamination Control of Lead in Food will be the first mandatory national standard for enterprises to control lead contamination during food production.

Contents of Contamination Control of Lead in Food (Draft)

  • Scope

  • Food raw material production:

    covering requirements of agricultural land, environment, water and agricultural input, machine, raw material transportation and dairy manufacturing

  • Food raw material, auxiliary material and their processing requirements:

    including general requirements, requirements for raw and auxiliary material, water, ingredient processing, processing equipment, as well as fish and meat processing

  • Food contact materials and articles:

    General requirements and special requirements

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Contamination control of acrylamide in food

Acrylamide is regarded as a group 2A carcinogen* as revealed bythe list of carcinogenic substances by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO. In 2017, China’s former Food and Drug Administration also republished it on its official website.

*Notes: Group 2A means "Probably carcinogenic to humans". There is strong evidence that it can cause cancer in humans, but at present, it is not conclusive.

Although China also considers acrylamide to be potentially carcinogenic in certain exposure scenarios, it is hard to regulate its maximum limit in food, since acrylamide is not an additive but a substance produced naturally during the processing of food. Similar situations also happen in other countries. But in order to ensure food safety, countries are taking measures to lower the acrylamide level in foods. In this situation, the Contamination Control of Acrylamide in Food is drafted, which will control the acrylamide level during food production.

Contents of Contamination Control of Acrylamide in Food (Draft)

  • Scope

  • Terms and definition

  • Food categories that should prioritize contamination control

  • Contamination requirements for products whose main raw material is potato (including requirements for raw materials, auxiliary materials, processing methods and labeling)

  • Contamination requirements for products whose main raw material is grain and cereal (including requirements for raw materials, auxiliary materials and processing methods)

  • Contamination requirements for products whose main raw material is coffee (including requirements for raw materials and processing methods)

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