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China's New Food Safety Law is in Effect

China's new Food Safety Law (FSL) became effective on October 1, 2015. The law was passed earlier this year, in response to several high-profile food safety scandals and the need for China to harmonize with the global practice of food safety management. The new law includes a number of significant changes to China's food regulations and new mechanisms to deepen the reforms.

The revised FSL establishes the basic legal framework for food safety supervision and management; however, like most framework documents, it is short on detail. More details became available in the past few months as the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC); China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA); and General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), along with other administrative agencies, published drafts of several important regulations and national food safety standards.

Some of the draft regulations and standards published since the FSL was passed are discussed below.

  • Management Regulations for Food Operation License (Draft for comment) & Food Production License, issued by the CFDA, are intended to manage the licensing regime for food production and restaurant service. The regulation would incorporate the production license for food additives into the scope of the food production license.

  • Administrative Measures for the Audit and Inspection of Overseas Companies by Food Product Importers: This draft regulation would impose heavy responsibilities on local importers to ensure the safety of food products that they plan to distribute in China. According to the Measures, at least once in every three years, domestic food importers are obliged to conduct an on-site audit of facilities outside of China that produce certain products.

  • General Code of Hygienic Practice for Food Additives would incorporate requirements on food additive production and applies to all domestic production of food additives. This would include requirements and management code for production sites, facilities and personnel in raw material procurement, processing, packaging, storage and transportation of food additives. Reference must be given to this general Code in the future establishment of specifications for any individual food additive.

While the central government has published or is drafting regulations to enforce the FSL, local governments also are actively developing new implementing rules, which also should be closely monitored by the industry.

© 2019 Keller and Heckman LLP

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David J. Ettinger, Keller Heckman, Partner, Food and Drug Corporation, International Trade Lawyer, Attorney, Shanghai, China
Partner

David Ettinger joined Keller and Heckman in 1999. Mr. Ettinger represents domestic and foreign corporations in the area of food and drug law.

Mr. Ettinger relocated to Keller and Heckman's Shanghai office in November 2012 to focus on the Asian market and counsel companies in the Far East on food, drug, and chemical regulatory matters. He has extensive experience counseling clients on product development and product protection of food and drug packaging in the United States, Europe, Asia, Canada, and South America. From 2006-2007, Mr. Ettinger...

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Jenny Li, Keller Heckman, China Food, Drug Regulation, Shanghai, International Trade
Legal Consultant

Jenny Li joined Keller and Heckman in October 2007.

Ms. Li counsels clients on regulatory issues focusing on food and drug, with an emphasis on regulatory regimes in the Asia-Pacific region. She also counsels clients on food labeling, food claims, food additives, as well as, important issues regarding food imports in Asian countries.

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Mark Thompson, Keller Heckman, EU Regulatory Compliance, Asian markets Lawyer, Attorney, Shanghai, China
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Mark Thompson joined Keller and Heckman in 2008 as an Associate with the firm’s Washington, DC office.  During that time, Mr. Thompson assisted clients in demonstrating compliance with U.S. and EU regulations pertaining to food, food packaging, drugs, as well as applicable environmental requirements.  In October 2009, Mr. Thompson transferred to Keller and Heckman's office in Shanghai, China, after which he expanded upon his practice to capture regulatory compliance matters in various Asian markets.   He currently advises a wide array of businesses and trade associations...

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Wilfred Feng, Keller Heckman, registration programs, herbicide development scientist, Consultant, Shanghai, China
Scientist

Wilfred Feng joined Keller and Heckman in 2005.

Mr. Feng provides technical assistance to clients on regulatory issues focusing on food and drug regulation and chemical control laws in Asia, including food additives, food labeling, food packaging, dietary supplements, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, pesticides, bioengineered products, and industry and specialty chemicals.

Mr. Feng has an extensive background in regulatory affairs, government affairs, marketing, and project management and has worked in several...

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Chen Hu , Keller Heckman, Scientist, Food Chemistry, Regulatory Compliance, Shanghai
Scientist

Chen Hu joined Keller and Heckman in April 2009. He provides technical assistance in the area of food, food packaging, and chemical control, in matters related to regulatory compliance in Asian-Pacific regions.

Mr. Hu works closely with government authorities and trade associations in various phases of regulatory development. Mr. Hu has prepared and submitted hundreds of Chinese applications for registration of food packaging materials, food additives, new food ingredients, and new chemical substances. He is experienced in auditing plant...

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