Several food contact regulations in China have come into operation since 19 April 2017. The new China FCMs regulatory framework covers requirements throughout raw materials, manufacture management and testing。 The wide coverage and great changes in relevant standards make it challenging for both Chinese operators and importers for China regulatory compliance。

See more about the upcoming regulations.

C&K Testing provides you FAQs to help you with regulatory compliance.

Q1: If my products fall under the scope of food contact materials (FCMs) in China, what is the base date for China FCMs regulatory compliance

C&K Testing: The new requirements shall be applicable to related products (food contact enamels, ceramics, glasses, plastic resins, plastics, paper and paper board, metals, coatings and rubber articles produced from 19 Apr. 2017. The date of production refers the date when inspected and packed as a finished product after going through all procedures on the production line. 

Q2: If the inner pots of rice cookers are coated with perfluoroethylene on their metal surfaces, in case the metallic substrates does not come into direct contact with foods, whether the rice cookers shall be tested for metals?

C&K Testing: The test requirements for metal substrate and coatings shall be met at the same time for the reasons below:

1。 Organic coatings are not considered as an effective barrier that can completely prevent substances migrating from substrates to foods。 So proper consideration shall be given for the risks of possible migration;

2。 Pursuant to Section 4。2。2 of the standard GB 4806。1 general safety requirements, all materials in composite materials, combined materials and coatings shall meet the specific requirements set forth in relevant national standards。

So C&K Testing advises businesses check the compliance of both substrates and coatings。

Q3: If my product is composite paper (such as cake holders) and the surface intended to come into contact with food is aluminum foil, which standard shall the product be tested for? GB 9683 Composite packaging bags or GB 4806.9 Metals?

C&K Testing: The Chinese standard GB 9683 Hygienic standard for composite laminated food packaging bag puts composite materials under regulation. The standard is only applicable to food packaging bags combined by paper, plastic film and aluminum foil through adhesives (polyurethane and polypropylene). Strictly speaking, the said composite paper does not fall under the scope of GB 9683.

If the product falls under the scope of GB 9683, of course, it shall be tested for GB 9683. Otherwise, it shall be tested for:

1。 GB 4806。1 Section 4。2。2 requirements for composite materials;

2. GB 4806.8 Paper products

3。 GB 4806。9 Metals

Q4: Since new food contact materials (FCMs) regulations in China reference management ideas and methods of EU food contact regulations, does that mean if a product is compliant with EU requirements for FCMs it also complies with new standards in China?

C&K Testing: The new FCMs regulations in China are not in complete alignment with EU requirements as regards regulations, test conditions and maximum allowable limits.  For instance, plastic food contact articles shall be tested for the consumption of potassium permanganate in China but not in EU. So we can see that compliance with EU FCMs regulations does not necessarily mean compliance of new FCMs regulations in China.

Q5: Plastic articles can only be tested when in sheets?

C&K Testing: Sample requirements differ from test items. Migration test: in sheets or finished articles;

Loss on drying and residues on ignition tests: granules.

The standard GB 4806.7 sets forth that migration test shall be performed as per GB 31604.1 and GB 5009.156. Section 3.6 of the standard GB 31604.1 specifies that FCMs with major differences from articles (such as resins, granules, coatings, inks and adhesives) shall be tested for migration when processed as articles (sheets or portion of samples) based on actual conditions.

Q6: In case that several products are made from the same raw materials but in different specs and uses, does that also prove compliance of other specs if one product complies with new FCMs regulations in China?

C&K Testing: No.

The compliance of FCMs is relevant with materials, shapes and use conditions。 For instance, if woks and electric kettles are made from the same type of stainless steel, their selections of food contact and food simulants are different; also, different specs usually have various radio of food contact area/volume (s/V) in which case test conditions for physic-chemical are different。 So it can be common that the compliance of products in different specs and uses is not always the same。 Therefore C&K Testing advises to send each product for testing to check compliance。

Q7: Whether the words “食品接触用” (“For food contact use”) should be indicated on each part of a rice cooker?

C&K Testing: The words “食品接触用” (“For food contact use”) can be only indicated on an end product.

Pursuant to Section 8。5 of GB 4806。1 general safety requirements, end products of food contact materials and articles shall bear “食品接触用” (“For food contact use”), “食品包装用” (“For food packaging use”) and similar wordings, or affixed with or printed with the sign of GB FCMs (with a spoon and pair of chopsticks)。

Q8: Operative on 19 October 2017, the standard GB4806.1 Section 8.4 specifies requirements for Declaration of Compliance (DoC). As a supplier of raw materials, how to provide a compliant DoC? Are there any templates?

C&K Testing: Suppliers of raw materials shall prepare DoC and identification to communicate restrictions with downstream suppliers. The Chinese national standards gives no specific rules on the formats of DoC and manufacturers can determine on their own. But it shall include regulations/standards, restricted substances and requirements, overall migrations. Entrust an accredited third-party lab for verification if information of substances cannot be exposed for the sake of intellectual property right. (You can also take reference for Guideline on DoC for Chinese food contact plastic materials).

Q9: The Section 5。3。2 of food contact metal standard GB4806。9 shall indicate material type and constituents or represented by standard grades or uniform numerical codes in Chinese standards。 Where can we find relevant references?

C&K Testing: All metallic materials shall comply with stipulations of GB4806.9 to bear information for substrates and coatings based on the new FCMs regulations in China. The enforcing authorities shall verify the compliance of constituents and identifications.

Standards for your reference

  • GB/T3280 National standard on food safety—Stainless steel articles (as referred in Q&A for the standard by Chinese NHFPC)
  • GB/T 20878 Grades of stainless & heat-resistant steel and their chemical composition (chose by some companies)
  • GB/T 3190 Grades of wrought aluminum and aluminum alloy and their chemical composition

C&K Testing suggests to choose as per the standard GB/T3280

Q10: How to choose food simulants and duration during migration test of food contact articles under new FCMs regulations in China?

C&K Testing: The standard GB31604.1 sets forth the rules on selection of food simulants, temperatures and duration for tests.

Foods listed in Appendix A to the standard: subject to stipulations of Appendix A

Foods not listed in Appendix A to the standard: one or several food simulants such as 10% ethanol or water, 4% acetic acid, 20% ethanol, 50% ethanol and vegetable oil based on type of intended food contact (aqueous, alcoholic and oily foods, etc.). Of course, if specified in product standards (GB 4806.3-2016, GB 4806.4-2016, GB 4806.5-2016, GB4806.9-2016, GB4806.11-2016), the selection of simulants and test conditions shall be subject to product standards.

In addition, whether a product is in repeated use will also affect the procedure and number of times of migration tests. At least, you should notify relevant testing body of product material, whether in repeated use, food type of intended contact, contact temperatures and duration. In such case, we can recommend you test items and conditions for migration tests.

As per the latest GB standards and NHFPC notifications, C&K Testing renders you one-stop solutions to China FCMs regulatory compliance, including

1. Identify whether the additives in your FCMs products are allowed substances;

2。 Confirm the authorisation granted for the additives, including maximum usage, specific migration limits, maximum residue (QM) overall migration limits and other restrictions for use;

3. Food contact materials/articles and additives testing and compliance assessment;

4. Formulate Declaration of Conformity (DoC) on your behalf;

5. Help with declaration of new types of food-related products;

6。 Verify the identifications and labels of your FCMs products。

Accredited by CMA and CNAS, C&K Testing is at your service to render you on-stop solutions to new China FCMs regulatory compliance。 Please feel free to contact us if any question。

|Further information: 

Guideline on DoC for Chinese food contact plastic materials released

Attention! New food contact regulatory framework in China is coming!

China releases 53 food contact materials standards

|Our Services:  Food Contact Materials Testing