New national food safety standards aim to clarify regulation

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Standards for the Uses of Food Additives
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Pursuant to the Food Safety Law, the National Health Commission and the State Administration for Market Regulation jointly issued Announcement No. 1 of 2024, issuing 47 new national food safety standards and six amendment lists with the aim of meeting industry development and consumer needs, as well as further improving the administration of food safety.

Among them, the Standards for the Uses of Food Additives, GB 2760-2024, represent the first revision of the original standards, GB 2760-2014, issued in 2014. As one of the most important national food safety standards in China in the domain of food additive use, in addition to revisions made regarding the varieties, provisions on and requirements for use of specific food additives, food flavours and essences, processing aids for food industry, etc., we note that the Standards for the Uses of Food Additives, GB 2760-2024, include the following key revisions:

Revisions of definitions. For example, the definition of “food additive” in the new version of the above-mentioned standards includes nutritional enhancers, meaning that henceforth, the provisions relating to the administration of food additives may be referred to for the administration of, and the standards for, nutritional enhancers; the definition of “food flavour” is amended to “a substance added to a food product to generate flavour, mask a flavour or enhance flavours” to be consistent with the national standards for food flavours.

Simplification and improvement. For example, schedule A (the Regulations for the Use of Food Additives) has been simplified from the three parts in the original standards, namely A.1, A.2 and A.3, to two parts, namely A.1 and A.2, to facilitate search and use by enterprises and relevant persons. INS numbers have also been added to schedule E (the Index of Regulations for the Use of Food Additives in schedule A), to facilitate search and use by enterprises and relevant persons (particularly persons unfamiliar with the Chinese language).

Clarification. For example, certain food categorised as “miscellaneous” in the original standards have now been re-categorised; and regarding vague expressions in the original standards, such as “shall comply with the provisions of relevant standards” or “shall be labelled in accordance with relevant national standards” used in schedule B (the Regulations for the Use of Food Flavours), the specific national food safety standards are now expressly specified, such as National Food Safety Standards, General Rules for the Labelling of Food Additives (GB29924) and National Food Safety Standards, General Rules for the Labelling of Prepackaged Food (GB7718).

The new version of the standards will officially be implemented from 8 February 2025. Given that the new standards will have a material impact on product research and development, product compliance reviews, production and operation, etc., we recommend that enterprises promptly review and make any necessary adjustments to their use of food additives to satisfy the requirements of the new standards.

Additionally, enterprises should be aware to make necessary adjustments to their food labels to maintain consistency with the adjustments made in their use of food additives.


Business Law Digest is compiled with the assistance of Baker McKenzie. Readers should not act on this information without seeking professional legal advice.
You can contact Baker McKenzie by e-mailing Howard Wu (Shanghai) at howard.wu@bakermckenzie.com

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