Introduction of FCMs standards in China

Food contact materials (FCM) are increasingly close to people's daily life, and the quality and safety of products are more and more concerned by the society. If there are hidden dangers in food contact materials, it is easy to cause food contamination and cause food safety incidents. Therefore, the Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety of food contact materials.

The requirements for food contact materials in China are mainly stipulated by national standards. imported food contact materials must also meet the requirements of China's national food safety standards. In 2016, China issued 53 national food safety standards including the "National Food Safety Standard, General Safety Requirements for Food Contact Materials and Products", which also include additives for food contact materials, product standards for glass, plastics and other materials, as well as testing methods for a variety of specific substances. Since then, China's standard system for food contact materials and products has basically been established.

Today, Foodmate will introduce standards for food contact materials in china. China's food contact material standards are relatively comprehensive, involving product standards, additive use requirements and testing method standards. See Figure 1 for details. We will introduce specific product standards from these three aspects.

Figure 1 China's food contact material standards
Product standards

All kinds of food contact materials and articles should meet the requirements of standard GB 4806.1 National food safety standard, General safety requirements of food contact materials and articles. This standard specifies the basic requirements, limit requirements, compliance principles, test methods, traceability and product information of food contact materials and articles.

This standard clarifies that the manufacturing enterprises of food contact materials and articles shall establish product traceability system to ensure the traceability of food contact materials and articles in all stages.

The product shall provide adequate product information, including identification contents of labels, instructions, etc., and certificate of product qualification to ensure that there is sufficient information to assess the safety of food contact materials and articles. The identification content shall include product name, material, the declaration of conformity to the relevant regulations and standards, the name, address and contact information of the producer and (or) distributor, date of manufacture and shelf life (if applicable), etc.

In addition to GB 4806.1, China has also formulated a series of specific product standards, involving plastics, metals, ceramics and coatings, etc. The specific product standards are shown in Table 1.

Table 1 List of Food Contact Material Product Standards

Standard for uses of additives

GB 9685 National food safety standard—Standard for use of additives for food contact materials and products specifies the principles for uses of additives in food contact materials and articles, the types of additives permitted to be used, application scope, maximum level, specific migration limit or maximum permitted quantity, total specific migration limit and other restrictive requirements. This standard also includes some monomers for basic polymers or other polymerization starting material used in the processing of food contact materials and articles.

Test method standards

China has issued a series of standards for measuring the performance of food contact materials, for example, GB 31604.1National food safety standard General rules for migration test of food contact materials and articles, GB 31604.2 National food safety standard Food contact materials and articles Determination of potassium permanganate consumption, GB 31604.3 National food safety standard Food contact materials and articles Determination of loss on dying of resin, etc.

At present, China has formulated more than 50 testing standards of food contact materials, which cannot be all listed here.

Future regulatory trends

China's standard system has been in development. The development of food contact materials standards includes the formulation of new standards and the modification and improvement of the original standards. In 2020, China issued 4 new standards and 2 revised standards involving food contact materials. At present, the consultation has been completed. See Table 2 for details.

Foodmate continues to pay attention to the development of Chinese standards and regulations. If you need to inquire about food contact materials or want to obtain specific English standards, please contact Foodmate.

Business Division of Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance of Global Foodmate provides food standards & regulations research, labelling compliance consulting/Chinese label design, industry public opinion monitoring and analysis, registration services (of Infant formula, FSMP, Health food, Novel Food Ingredients, Novel Food Additives, New Varieties of Food-Related Products and Overseas manufacturers of imported food) and other comprehensive food safety solutions for domestic and overseas enterprises and institutions in food industry. 

Please feel free to contact us: +86 10 68869850, E-mail: global_info@foodmate.net

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