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China SAMR Issues Revised General Rules for Food Business Licensing Review

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To thoroughly implement the current Food Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China, the Administrative Measures on Food Business Licensing and Filing, and to address common concerns regarding food business safety, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) has recently revised and issued the General Rules for Food Business Licensing Review (hereinafter referred to as the “General Rules”), which will take into effect from the date of issuance.

The General Rules adhere to a problem-oriented approach, insist on source control, optimize the conditions for food business licensing to meet the needs of reform and development, scientifically set the threshold for licensing access, strengthen risk level prevention and control, and promote high-quality industry development with a high level of safety.

The main revisions include the following:

  • Strict licensing review requirements in key areas. Emphasizing strict licensing review requirements for canteens in schools, childcare institutions, and other centralized dining units. Further tightening the licensing review requirements for contracted canteen operations in terms of obtaining licenses at the location of the canteen, risk prevention and control capabilities, cross-provincial operations, personnel, systems, among others.
  • Optimize food business licensing requirements. Based on the newly revised Administrative Measures on Food Business Licensing and Filing, the General Rules specifies the circumstances for setting up special rooms or dedicated operation areas in the duplicate of the food business license, creating a business environment that is convenient for the people and beneficial to enterprises.
  • Add licensing review requirements for emerging business models. For emerging business models such as food business chain enterprise headquarters and food vending through automatic equipment, the focus is on licensing review requirements from aspects such as organizational structure, personnel, and systems. It clarifies the food safety management responsibilities of catering service management companies for their branches, subsidiaries, and other enterprises under absolute control, and the headquarters of food business chains for their central kitchens, distribution centers, stores, etc., promoting the healthy development of emerging industries while ensuring food safety.
  • Strengthen entity principal responsibility. Integrating requirements related to personnel systems, “three preventions”facilities, temperature control, etc., from current laws, regulations, departmental rules, and national food safety standards into the licensing review conditions, making it consistent with current legal and regulatory standards, and further consolidating the main responsibility of enterprises.

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