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[Updated] China Amends GB Standard for Requirements of Restricting Excessive Package for Foods

The amendment mainly revolves the more stringent packaging requirements for two Chinese traditional and icon festival foods, namely, mooncakes and zongzi. Provisions regarding mooncakes and zongzi in the amendment will be effective from August 1, 2022. Mooncakes and zongzi produced before the implementation date can be sold until the end of their shelf life.

Updated: On May 24, 2022, SAMR unveiled the official first amendment sheet of GB 23350-2021 Requirements of Restricting Excessive Package–Foods and Cosmetics, with effect from August 15, 2022. Compared with the second draft, there's no substantial changes on the official version.

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Updated: On April 18, 2022, MIIT issued a notice to open the second draft of the first amendment sheet for public consultation. Compared with the first draft, the second draft only delayed the proposed implementation date for provisions related with zongzi and mooncakes from August 1, 2022 to August 15, 2022. Comments can be sent to KJBZ@miit.gov.cn before April 24, 2022.

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On March 8, 2022, China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) unveiled the draft of the first amendment sheet of GB 23350-2021 Requirements of Restricting Excessive Package–Foods and Cosmetics and announced to solicit public feedback till April 6, 2022. Any feedback can be sent to KJBZ@miit.gov.cn before the opinion collection ends.

This amendment mainly revolves the more stringent packaging requirements for two Chinese traditional and icon festival foods, namely, mooncakes and zongzi (sticky rice dumpling), which are extremely popular for celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival and Dragon Boat Festival. As per GB 23350-2021, violating any requirements of one of the following three aspects, namely, interspace ratio, package layers and package cost, can be judged as excessive packaging.

1. Interspace ratio 

In GB 23350-2021, interspace ratio is largely determined by necessary spatial coefficient of commodity. According to the calculation formula of interspace ratios, the smaller the coefficient, the larger the interspace ratio. This amendment newly sets necessary spatial coefficients of commodity for mooncake and zongzi, which means it poses new restrictions on interspace ratios of these two commodities.

GB 23550-2021

The First Amendment Sheet

Table A.1 Necessary spatial coefficient of commodity for foods

Table A.1 Necessary spatial coefficient of commodity for foods

Pastries

12.0

Pastries

Mooncakes

7.0

Zongzi

5.0

Other pastries

12.0

2. Package layers 

According to the functional requirements of packaging design and market research, the number of package layers of mooncakes and zongzi is adjusted from "no more than four layers" to "no more than three layers".

3. Package cost 

GB 23350-2021 stipulated that manufacturers should take actions to ensure that the cost of all packages (excluding the package directly in contact with the contents), is no more than 20% of the product's selling price. Based on this, the amendment adds additional requirement for mooncake and zongzi, that is, precious materials such as precious metals and mahogany should not be used in the packaging of mooncakes and zongzi. 

4. Mix-packed requirements 

The amendment sets a new section 4.4 "mix-packed requirements", and specifies that mooncakes should not be mix-packed with other commodities, and zongzi should not be mix-packed with commodities exceeding its value.

GB 23350-2021 will come into force on September 1, 2023, while the provisions regarding mooncakes and zongzi in the amendment are supposed to be effective from August 1, 2022. That's because both mooncake and zongzi belong to fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) with relatively short circulation and consumption period. Once the amendment gets approved, for mooncakes and zongzi commodities that have already entered the distribution channels or in inventory, they shall be consumed as soon as possible before August 1, 2022. You can also check the news for more details about the implementation of GB 23350-2021. After all, no matter if the amendment will be approved or not, it is still recommended for food enterprises to pack their food products in a green and low-carbon manner.



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