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New Rules for the Dairy Industry

2015-11-03 07:48:09    Source: DBW (Harbin)


The newly-revised Food Safety Law of the People's Republic of China was implemented as of October 1, 2015. In comparison to the old edition of Food Safety Law, the new edition known as the "strictest in the history" has strengthened the crackdown on food safety violations and clarified the "good faith & self-discipline" requirements for food production operators, the establishment of food safety traceability system and the assurance of food traceability requirements. Furthermore, it also made specific provisions for the infant formula foods, which can be considered as another highlight of the updated Food Safety Law. The new law urges production operators to be "good faith & self-discipline".

Dairy production and operation serve as a special business closely related to our health and life safety. In that sense, the implementation of main body responsibility of dairy products among production operators will be of vital significance to promote the credibility system construction of dairy industry, establish the perfect safety management system for dairy products and ensure the safety of dairy products. In Article IV of the updated Food Safety Law, "Food production operators shall be responsible for the safety of food production and operation" is separately prescribed as one article, with the purpose of further strengthening the main body responsibility of dairy products among production operators. The updated law has also strengthened the "Business Integrity" requirements for the dairy industry, and made provisions for all legal obligations and requirements to be undertaken by production operators. For example, legal acquisition of production business certificate, establishment of the system for demanding certificates & invoices, incoming inspection, outgoing inspection & record, fulfillment of obligations of recalling unsafe food and stopping business operations. 

The updated law has also added the relevant provisions of whole-process food safety traceability system, in order to implement the whole-process traceability & collaborative promotion, guarantee the food safety information sharing, ensure accurate traceability & effective control in time of problem happened and thus protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers in full measure. As prescribed in Article 50, "Food production enterprises should establish the incoming inspection & record system for food raw materials, food additives and food-related products, honestly take down such contents as food ingredients, food additives, food-related product names, specifications, quantities, production dates or production batch numbers, expiration dates, date of purchase, supplier names, addresses, contact information, etc. Additionally, the related documents shall also be kept. The retention period of documents and records shall not be less than six months after the expiration of product. For those products without clarified expiration dates, the retention period shall not be less than two years."

Excessive production requirements for infant formula foods have become the hot issue 

In the Regulations on Administration of Dairy Products released in 2008, specific provisions were made for the administration of dairy products that contained infant formula foods. From the view of practice, despite of China’s late start of infant formula foods, homemade milk powder has experienced rapid development and the gaps between international brands are diminishing in Clauses of process, technology, formula and so on. However, the consumer confidence in domestic milk powder consumption is still insufficient. In order to strengthen the supervision of infant formula foods and ensure the life safety and health of infants & young children, specific provisions have been supplemented in the updated Food Safety Law, clarifying the production requirements for infant formula foods. 

Whole-process control for the lot-by-lot inspection & production of infant formula foods 

As specified in Clause 1, Article 81 of the updated Food Safety Law, "Whole-process quality control should be implemented from raw material incoming inspection to the delivery of finished product among production enterprises of infant formula foods. In addition, lot-by-lot inspection shall be carried out in the infant formula foods to be shipped, for sake of ensuring the food safety. "For production enterprises of infant formula foods, it is required to strictly implement the relevant national food safety standards and carried out the quality & safety control that cover the whole-process of production that starts from the procurement and incoming of raw materials. The whole-process quality & safety control shall comprise management system, raw materials, technical standards, production processes, documentation, product formula, product protection, personnel management, production environment, production equipment and testing equipment, as well as other aspects and elements. For those to-be-shipped infant formula foods, it is required to carry out the lot-by-lot sampling process and inspect in accordance with the provisions of relevant national laws, regulations, rules and standards. Only those products after inspection qualification can be allowed to leave the factory, so as to ensure the quality safety of infant formula foods. 

Nutrients as required for growth must be contained in infant formula foods

As specified in Clause 2, Article 81 of the updated Food Safety Law, "The fresh milk, auxiliary ingredients and other food ingredients, food additives used in the production of infant formula foods must comply with the provisions of laws, administrative regulations and national food safety standards, so as to guarantee the nutrients as required for the growth and development of infants & young children." The fresh milk, auxiliary ingredients and other food ingredients, food additives used in the production of infant formula foods must comply with the provisions as specified in the Food Safety Law, Regulations on the Supervision & Management of Quality Safety of Dairy Products and relevant national food safety standards. 

Infant formula foods must be filed at the Food and Drug Administration

As specified in Clause 3, Article 81 of the updated Food Safety Law, "Production enterprises of infant formula foods should have food raw materials, food additives, product formula, labels and other items filed at the Food and Drug Administration under the people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government. "The specific items shall comprise four aspects, i.e. food raw materials, food additives, product formula and labels. The filing of food raw materials and food additives shall include types, sources and certificates of conformity (inspection report), etc. The filing of product formula shall include various materials and their dosages in the formula. The filing of labels shall include the texts, graphics, symbols on the package and all descriptions. 

The scientific nature and safety of infant formula milk powders must be specified in registration 

At present, there are numerous formulas for infant formula milk powders in China, nearly 1900 formulas exist throughout the country, and there are more 20 formulas in each enterprise. However, similar enterprises of this kind at abroad only have 2 to 3 formulas. According to the complexity & precision of raw and auxiliary materials, as well as the particularity of consumer groups, it is required to regulate the production and operation behaviors of infant formula milk powders, enhance the independent R &D capability and quality assurance among enterprises and earnestly protect the health and life safety of infants and young children. As specified in Clause 4, Article 81 of the updated Food Safety Law, "The product formulation of infant formula milk powders must be filed at the Food and Drug Administration under the State Council. During the registration, it is required to submit the R & D report of formulation and other materials that manifest the scientific nature and safety of formula. "

Split packaging is prohibited, and the same formula is not allowed to be used in the production with several brands 

It is also clearly specified in the updated Food Safety Law, "The mode of split packaging is prohibited in the production of infant formula milk powders, and the same enterprise is not allowed to produce different brands of infant formula milk powders with the same formula." For those production enterprises of infant formula milk powders provided with site, process and equipment, yet without the provisions of complete production process conditions, it can be classified as split packaging and shall not allowed to produce infant formula milk powders. The same enterprise is not allowed to produce different brands and names of infant formula milk powders with the same product formulation. (Source: DBW – Hecheng Evening News)

 

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