The Implementing Regulation of the Food Safety law is undergoing a possible – final – review. After the release of the third draft on August 14, 2017 and after the end of period for public comments on October 13, this important piece of regulation is in the hands of the legislator; we do not know when it will be officially issued. Possibly some last modifications will be made compared to the current third draft.
Compared with the previous draft, there are some important changes – not only due to the shrinking of the third draft (208 articles have been narrowed down to 98).
Here is our choice of most important provisions.
Local standards – allowed when national standards are missing – are in any case not allowed for health foods, special medical purpose food, infant formula and novel food. Local standards shall be in any case repealed when corresponding national standard is issued.
Production enterprise’s own production standard – when introduced – shall be stricter than the corresponding national standard, shall be disclosed and available for consultation.
Food operation license – related to catering and/or food sale – shall be valid only for three years, not 5 (as currently provided by national relevant regulation).
In case of production entrusted to a duly-licensed third party, the entrusting party shall be responsible for the safety of the entrusted food and food additives production, and shall supervise the production behavior of the entrusted party.
There is a stress – already seen in the Shanghai Food Safety Regulations earlier this year – about good storage and transportation of food sensitive to temperature, humidity and other special conditions: heat-preservation facilities, cold storage and freezing facilities shall be duly equipped and maintained, and food operators – when entrusting food storage and transportation to third parties – shall conduct investigation on such third party’s capability.
To guarantee traceability such third parties storing or transporting the foods shall in their turn truthfully record the food’s name, specification, quantity, production date or batch number, the start and shelf life, as well as name, address, and contact information of entrusting party and recipient.
Deteriorated, expired or recalled food shall be stored separately and in a clearly-marked area, and periodically appropriate measures shall be taken to avoid contamination (such as harmless treatment and destroy, and make truthful records). Again, similar provision was already introduced earlier this year by the Shanghai Food Safety Regulations.
Specific full nutritional formula food shall be sold in hospitals/clinics or drugstores; online sale is forbidden.
Labels of infant formula food shall truthfully indicate specific sources of ingredients. Infant formula food containing ingredients allowed as facultative under the relevant standards (e.g. Choline, Inositol, Taurine, L-Carnitine) shall not be named after such optionally-added ingredients. Infant formula food shall not claim any functions.
LABELING AND ADVERTISING
Finally, one provision on negative claims!
Negative claims referred to substances prohibited by the food safety standards/regulations are forbidden from labels, product descriptions and advertisement. We are curious to see whether this provision will be interepreted in extensive way – i.e. banning any negative claim for non-dangerous ingredient/substances usually not present in that kind of food.
False advertising on food in any forms (including conferences, lectures and health consultation) is prohibited. Let’s see whether professional consumers will sneak around with camera or iPhone to record evidence during such conference/events…
Finally, no trace about the clause which – in earlier drafts – prohibited the use of sticker labels on imported food products. Infant formula therefore remains the only food product subject to such provision.