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Interpretation | NEW Regulation on the Implementation of the Food Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China


Jan 01, 2020

Premier Li Keqiang signed the Decree of the State Council of the People's Republic of China No. 721 to release the revised Regulation on the Implementation of the Food Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the Regulation) on the website on October 31, 2019. The Regulation shall enter into effect on December 1, 2019.

After thorough study and comparison, Global FOODMATE highlighted few key points appeared in the new Regulation, for your reference.

1. National Food Safety Standards allow early implementation

Article 13 of the Regulation stipulates that after the publication of the National Food Safety Standards, it is allowed to be implemented by food enterprises before the implementation date, but the enterprises are required to disclose the implementation situation.

A certain period often exists between the publication date and implementation date of National Food Safety Standards. Whether National Food Safety Standards can be implemented in advance or not, except for some standards such as GB 19295 that explicitly allows and encourages early implementation, it was no agreement for other food standards before. The Regulation this time solves the long-lasting doubts in the industry and will greatly promote the implementation of National Food Safety Standards.

2. Further clarify the application scope of Local Food Safety Standards

Article 11 and article 12 of the Regulation further clarify the scope and requirements of development of local food safety standards based on the Article 29 of Food Safety Law, which are mainly formulated for local characteristic foods and are applicable locally. Meanwhile, the Regulation clearly states that special foods such as health foods, food for special medical purposes (FSMP) and infant formulas do not belong to local characteristic foods, the corresponding local food safety standards shall not be developed.

3.  Explains the filing of enterprise standards

Article 14 of the Regulation stipulates that enterprise standards must be stricter than National Food Safety Standards and Local Food Safety Standards. Enterprise standards shall be filed to the administrative departments of public health of the people’s governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government before uses, no other declaration way can be replaced. In addition, it is emphasised that enterprise standards should be made public and available to the public for free.

Meanwhile, Article 74 of the Regulations stipulates the legal liabilities of the enterprises when their products meet the national food safety standards but not the enterprise standards.
4. Non-food operators engaged in certain food storage business shall be filed

Article 25 of the Regulation stipulates that non-food operators engaged in food storage business with special requirements of temperature, humidity, etc. shall file themselves to the food safety supervision and management department of local county-level people's government, within 30 working days from the date of obtaining the business license. 

This is a further stipulation on Article 33 of the Food Safety Law, which embodies the requirements for food safety supervision throughout the industry chain. With the formal implementation of the Regulation, it is expected that each province will gradually release the operational plans, and FOODMATE will follow up on this.
5. Clarifies the definition of recalled food and the disposal methods

Article 34 of the Food Safety Law stipulates that the production and trading of foods produced from recalled food are prohibited. Article 29 of the Regulation clarifies the definition of recalled food and regulates the disposal methods of recalled foods (recalled food shall be significantly marked or stored separately in places with clear signs. Measures such as harmless treatment, destruction shall be taken timely and records shall be kept). 

6. Clarifies the regulation on illegally added non-edible substances

Article 63 of the Regulation stipulates that the food safety supervision department shall, in conjunction with the health administrative department, shall and publish formulate a list and test methods for non-food chemicals and other substances that may be added to foods and other substances that may endanger human health. Article 22 of the Regulation stipulates that food producers and operators shall not store the substances in the list in food production and processing places, and Article 68 of the Regulation states the corresponding liabilities. The above clauses are more stringent for food companies. Previous regulations were mainly for the illegal addition of production and the Regulation stipulates that only storage is illegal.

7. Clarifies the supervision on special foods

The Regulation stipulates special regulatory requirements for special foods to ensure the safety of special foods. Article 35 regulates the pre-treatment capacity of raw materials for health food production; Article 36 regulates batch-by-batch inspections in accordance with standards of formulated foods for special medical purposes; Article 37 regulates the advertising for specific full nutritional formula food for special medical purposes and Article 38 regulates the naming of infant formula.

8. Further clarify the imported food without corresponding National Food Safety Standards

Article 47 of the Regulation clearly stipulates that foods already covered by the general standards in the national food safety standards are not foods without corresponding national food safety standards as stipulated in Article 93 of Food Safety Law.

It shows that foods that have been covered by the general standards of national food safety standards but without specific product standards can be imported by general trade, and the import basis is the relevant provisions of the general standards. This article will further promote the development of China's import trade of food. 

9.  Firstly proposes the establishment of Food Safety Inspectors Team

Article 60 of the Regulation stipulates that the state shall establish the food safety inspector system, strengthens the construction of professional inspectors based on existing resources, strengthens assessment and training and improves the professional level of inspectors.

10. Clarifies the legal liabilities of publishing food safety information

Article 43 of the Regulation stipulates that no unit or individual may publish food inspection information issued by food inspection agencies that have not obtained accreditation according to law, and may not use the above-mentioned inspection information to rank food and food production operators, to deceive or mislead consumers. And Article 80 of the Regulation states the corresponding penalties for such acts.

In recent years, some unscientific evaluation reports issued by unauthorized institutions have caused troubles for consumers' awareness of food safety, and have harmed the interests of food enterprises that legally produce and operate. This clause is of great significance for curbing such situation, is conducive to protecting the interests of legitimate enterprises, promoting the sound development and orderly competition of the food industry, and helping consumers to establish correct food safety knowledge. 

11. Clarifies punishment measures for false propaganda of food in the form of meetings, lectures and others

Article 34 of the Regulation clearly prohibits the use of any means, including meetings, lectures and health consultations, to make false propaganda of food. Article 73 of the Regulation states the corresponding penalties for such acts.

Illegal activities of making false propaganda of foods in the form of meetings, lectures, etc. are not uncommon during recent years. Unscrupulous enterprises often make false propaganda of foods through health talks, free medical examinations and gifts, and describe low-cost ordinary foods as expensive functional foods to gain illegal profits. Most of those who are deceived are middle-aged and elderly people who are eager for health but lack certain professional knowledge. Article 34 reflects that China's food safety legislation keeps peace with the times, ant it will help to further crack down on illegal activities and to provide a healthy and rational food consumption environment.

12. Industries that are the focuses of supervision

Article 17 of the Regulation stipulates that food safety supervision and management departments shall regard the construction of traceability systems for foods for specific groups of people (e.g., infant formula) and other foods with high safety risks or large sales volumes, as the focus of supervision and inspection. 

13. Clarifies punishment measures for responsible personnel of illegal enterprises

When illegal acts of food enterprise occur, in addition to the penalties as stipulated in the Food Safety Law, Article 34 of the Regulation also stipulates that the legal representative, the principal responsible person, the directly responsible person in charge and other directly responsible personnel of the unit shall be imposed a fine of 1-10 times of the income from the unit in the previous year.

This is the first time that China clearly stipulates penalties for responsible personnel of illegal food enterprises, which embodies the requirements for the main responsibility of food enterprises.


The newly released Regulation explains many doubts in the food industry on food safety supervision, promoting the implementation of policies on food safety supervision and the development of the food industry.

Please note: Original English article of Global Foodmate of Information Service and Business Department, please indicate the source from the Global Foodmate if reprint.


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