New Food Safety Law Effective this Month

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Jun. 4 – China’s new Food Safety Law China went into effect beginning this month. The law integrates stringent food safety standards to make supervision easier and will require new food licenses for businesses.

Food suppliers who already obtained a food sanitation license prior to June 1 can still use the license until expiry date.

China’s food industry has been mired by quality safety issues for years. The most tragic one being last year’s melamine scandal when six babies died and about 300,000 people got sick. In the ensuing aftermath, a Chinese court sentenced two men to death penalty and the former boss of the Sanlu dairy to life imprisonment.

The scandal damaged the reputation of Chinese-made products exported abroad and led to various recalls.

Following the new law, food additives not approved by the government may not be used and all food products now have to undergo inspection. Moreover, consumers can claim for ten times of the value of the food they buy once their rights are infringed via poor quality products plus claims for economic losses.

The new law also stipulates that food manufacturers shall immediately halt production of food products that do not meet safety standards and recall products out in the market.

It touches on labeling issues for food products specifying that health food products must not be labeled for “disease prevention” and “treatment functions” in their tags. Labels will now be required to be more detailed in providing information like who can use their product and the product’s main ingredients.

China’s food department will be required to conduct audits on food samples for manufacturers for free.

For a detailed look at the new food safety law, a copy of it in Chinese is available here.