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China Proposes National Food Safety Standard (GB) Legislation Plan for 2024

On March 26, 2024, China National Health Commission (NHC) issued the draft of national food safety standard legislation plan for 2024 (hereafter as the Plan). 34 food standards are listed in the Plan, covering food products, food additives, food nutritional fortifiers, testing and determination method, as well as food business operation. Among them, 14 are new standards to be formulated, while the rest 20 standards are existing ones with revisions. Public comments are acceptable via fax (010-68792408) before April 7.

14 new GB standards to be formulated 

2 for food products

  • Pre-cooked food (also known as prepared/pre-made/ready to cook food)

  • Wet rice products

1 for radioactive testing

  • Determination of radionuclide Carbon-14 in food

6 for physicochemical indicator testing

  • Determination of food viscosity

  • Determination of migration of 1,2-cyclohexanedicarboxylic acid di (isononyl) ester and 1,4-phenyldicarboxylic acid bis (2-ethylhexyl) ester in food contact materials and articles

  • Determination of migration of 1,4-dichlorobenzene in food contact materials and articles

  • Determination of migration of phenol, formaldehyde, glycidyl ether and their hydroxyl and chloride derivatives in food contact materials and articles

  • Determination of triglycerides, diglycerides, and monoglycerides in food

  • Determination of theanine in tea leaves in food

1 for food business operation

  • Criterion for contamination control of rice yeast acid in wet rice and noodle products

4 for food nutritional fortifiers

  • L-Lysine L-glutamate

  • Calcium L-glutamate

  • Potassium L-glutamate

  • Magnesium L-aspartate

Among the new GB standards, the one for precooked meals has caught the industry's attention. The pre-cooked food market in China, as an emerging sector, has been experiencing rapid growth due to centralized production, convenient heating process, and consistent flavor. These characteristics make pre-cooked food particularly suitable for the fast-paced urban lifestyle and the rapidly expanding restaurant industry. However, the lack of unified regulations has raised various concerns among consumers, leading to consumers' impression such as "unhealthy" or "nutritionally deficient" being associated with precooked meals.

Industry experts widely believe that the implementation of national standards will have a positive impact on the pre-cooked food industry, guiding it towards more standardized development. Additionally, these standards can enhance consumer awareness of pre-cooked food's safety and alleviate concerns, thereby increasing consumer acceptance of such products.

20 GB standards to be revised 

3 for food products

12 for food additives

2 for microbiological examinations

1 for toxicological assessment

1 for food business operation

1 for food nutritional fortifier

 

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