1. Regulation background
Food Contact Materials (FCM) are defined as the materials and articles intended to directly or indirectly come into contact with food (e.g. packaging materials, containers, tools, machinery, ink, adhesive, lubricant, etc.), therefore, the constituents of FCM may be released into foods, which may be harmful to consumers’ health and safety. In recent years, Chinese government pays higher attention to inspection and supervision of imported FCM in order to effectively protect the Chinese consumers’ health and public health safety. The inspection and quarantine department carries out inspection and management for FCM according to “Law of the People's Republic of China on Import and Export Commodity Inspection” and its enforcement regulation, “Supervision Standard for Food Contact Material Import and Export” as well as the relevant product standards.
2. Compliance procedures for imported FCM
Depend on in-depth study of framework regulation and new product standard as well as good communication with relevant department and long-term practice, CIRS has successfully assist clients in importing FCM to China. To tackle with the trade barrier and help enterprises fully understand the changes of the related standard requirement, and avoid compliance risk, CIRS has developed one set of compliance procedures:
3. Details of each procedure
Step 1: Confirm the product information and find out the applicable product standard
To import FCM to China, definite standard is necessary. Rashly importing FCM which has no definite standard may cause rejection or dispose by local customs. To avoid trade loss, CIRS suggests that companies should provide the product information and confirm the corresponding product national standard before importing. Under the current FCM regulation system, the main product national standards in China are as following:
Name of National Standard (GB)
National Food Safety Standards Nipple
National Food Safety Standards Enamel Articles
National Food Safety Standards Ceramics Articles
National Food Safety Standards Glass Articles
National Food Safety Standards Food contact plastic resin
National Food Safety Standards Food contact plastic materials and products
National Food Safety Standards Food contact paper, paperboard and its products
National Food Safety Standards Food contact metal materials and products
National Food Safety Standards Food contact coating
National Food Safety Standards Food contact rubber materials and products
Step 2: Analyze the product formula and arrange necessary test
In China, the positive list of food contact additives is “GB 9685-2016 National Food Safety Standard - The Uses of Additive in Food Contact Materials and Articles” and subsequent announcements on newly approved substances issued by NHC (former NHFPC). The positive list of food contact resins is “GB 4806.6-2016 National Food Safety Standard - Food Contact Plastic Resins”, “GB 4806.10-2016 National Food Safety Standard - Food Contact Coatings”, “GB 4806.11-2016 National Food Safety Standard - Food Contact Rubber Materials and Articles” and subsequent announcements on newly approved substances issued by NHC.
In order to confirm the compliance of product, companies shall check the formula according to the positive lists and carry out the necessary tests (e.g. SML test, QM test, routine tests, etc.) according to the requirements in the positive lists and the requirements in the product national standard which is confirmed in step1.
If the resin or additive is not listed in the positive list, but it shall be used in food contact material or product, then New Food Contact Substance Notification in China is compulsory.
Step 3: Generate the Chinese label and issue the declaration of compliance (DoC)
According to the statistics of the “2016 Import Food Contact Material White Book”, local Customs (former CIQ) conducted inspection on 151,563 batches of FCMs, and found out that there are 14,895 batches of unqualified FCMs. Among the 14,895 batches, 14,685 batches of FCM products did not meet the requirements of national standards because of unqualified label, which is far above any other reasons, becoming the most crucial issue for the trade frictions of FCM.
In addition, with the implementation of GB “4806.1-2016 General Safety Requirements of Food Contact Materials and Articles” on October 19, 2017, the declaration of compliance (DoC) also shall be submitted to Customs and its content shall comply with the national standard. The lack of DoC document will cause the unqualified FCM.
Step 4. Clearance the Customs and sell freely
According to the stipulation of “Supervision Standard for Food Contact Material Import and Export”, China Customs will carry out casual inspection for the imported FCM. Besides the basic trade documents, declaration of compliance (DoC) and standard Chinese label & specification also shall be submitted. After Customs clearance, FCM can be sold freely.