In order to ensure food safety, the new food raw materials must be safely evaluated before entering the market. In 1983, China government put up the first requirement on new food raw materials, and released the first supporting regulation in 1987. After more than 30 years, the regulatory system has been increasingly improved, and many new food raw materials have been approved and widely used in different foods.
1. Historical Development of New Food Raw Materials
From 1987 to the present, great changes have taken place in the management of new food raw materials in China, and the regulatory system has been increasingly improved.
Table1 Policy Changes of New Food Raw Materials in China
Highlights of policy changes
Hygienic Management of New Food Resources
Final product or food raw material
Due to the ages long, the original document has lost.
Final product or food raw material
II. The final approval of new resource food is only valid for the applicant.
Administrative Measures on New Resource Food
Food raw material
I. The requirement for trial production is cancelled;
II. The management object is turned into “food raw material”;
III. The final approval result is announced to the public (as a positive list), rather than to the applicant alone, which avoid the repeated application of the same products;
Administrative Measures on Safety Review of New Food Raw Materials
Food raw material
I. The name of “new resource food” is replaced by “new food raw material”, and the definition of new food raw material is determined;
II. The safety assessment report issued by Chinese risk assessment agencies are required in the application materials.
III. Soliciting comments from the public are required in terms of the review procedure.
Fig.1 Approval numbers of New Food Raw Materials
From 1987 to 2007, Former Ministry of Health approved 344 new resource food, of which a large number of products were approved in the form of final products. However, after two years of trial production, only 76 products applied for the official production, which accounting for 22% of total.
Since December 1, 2007, the management object was turned into “food raw material”. Up to now, a total of 128 new food raw materials have got the approval, which including 105 animal & plant sourced new materials and 23 microorganism sourced new materials.
2. Application of New Food Raw Material
The application of new food raw materials in food production is one of the means for enterprises to open up new markets. In today’s food industry, a serious of approved new food raw materials have been widely used in various food products.
2.1 In Common food
Fish oil gummy, maca solid beverage, blueberry lutein ester candy, aloe milk drink (aloe vera gel), etc., a plenty of common food contain new food raw materials. When using an approved new food raw material in common food, food enterprises shall pay attention to the following 3 aspects:
- Application scope
- Daily intake
- Labelling requirement
Table 2 Matters Needing Attention (Examples)
Matters Needing Attention
Shea butter (Sheanut oil, Shea oil)
Shea butter is only allowed to be added in the listed food categories. Other food categories (e.g., beverage) are not allowed to use this raw material.
I. Add appropriate level of maca powder in the product according to the daily intake limit.
II. Indicate following information on the product label:
This product contains XXg maca powder. The daily intake of maca powder shall be ≤25g, and it is unsuitable for infants, lactating women, or pregnant women.
2.2 In Health Food
Based on CIRS’s statistics, the approved new food raw materials that can be commonly found in registered health foods are shown in Fig. 2. As is seen from the figure, lipid and carbohydrate raw materials are the most popular new food raw materials in health food.
Furthermore, most health food enterprises are used to purchase the new food raw material from the manufacturer who applied for new food raw material registration, and obtain relevant approval documents from the manufacturer, in order to avoid unnecessary troubles during the application of health food registration.
Fig.2 The frequency of use of new food raw materials in registered health food
2.3 In FSMP
The usage of new food raw materials in foods for special medical purpose (FSMP) shall comply with relevant approval notice of that material as well as the corresponding food safety national standard of FSMP.
For example, fish oil is added in a specific nutritionally complete food for COPD patient. The manufacturer shall pay attention to the following two points.
- The quality of fish oil shall comply with the requirements listed in its approval notice (Former MOH Notice No. 18/2009);
- The content of fish oil in the product shall be adjusted according to the n-3 fatty acid limit (as EPA and DHA) that stipulated in the Q&A of GB 29922.
At present, new food raw materials are rarely used in FMSP in China, this is because most new food raw materials are unsuitable for FSMP because of their limited role in nutrition support (which is the essence of FSMP) or since they contain other bioactive ingredients which are not allowed to be added in FSMP. Therefore, when selecting a new food raw material as the ingredient of FSMP, its nutrition support is the first concern.
(Please kindly click here for more detailed interpretation on the raw materials used in FSMP.)
3. Future development
China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment has released several drafts on the approval of new food raw materials for public comments, including Penthorum chinense Pursh. β-1,3-glucan, Lactobacillus helveticus R0052, Bifidobacterium infantis R0033, Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071, etc. We believe that in the future, more and more new food raw materials will be available for food production.
If you have any needs or questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Wing Yu, Technical Manager of Food Business Division, CIRS Group
Ms. Wing Yu graduated from Zhejiang University with Master Degree of Food Engineering. She has abundant experience in food technology, food testing and food regulation. After joining CIRS, she focuses on food regulatory compliance field, and is professional in food technical and regulatory support for oversea enterprises.