The management of new food additives and raw materials in China

The food and beverage industry is a major pillar of the Chinese economy, which makes China also the largest growth market for food additives. China has produced 11,971,000 mt of various food additives in 2021; up 10.5%.

The current Chinese procedure for the registration of food ingredients (GB 2760-2014) dates from Dec. 31, 2014. As food ingredients are a core topic of this blog, it will be interesting to have a look at how this system has been functioning in the years after its promulgation up to June 2018. The data in this post are provided by the National Health Commission.

The following table lists the number of applications for new food additives or new applications of existing additives per year.

Year Applications
2014 63
2015 74
2016 73
2017 43
2018 16

(all figures of 2018 refer to the first half of that year)

Obviously, not all applications are honoured. The next table lists how many applications were actually approved; distinguishing new additives and new applications of existing ones.

Year New additives New applications
2015 2 11
2016 17 37
2017 20 21
2018 1 7

As indicated in an earlier post, China is a country that has an active Public Nutrition policy. Nutrients have a special registration procedure dating from March 15, 2012. The final table of this post is similar to the second, but now referring to nutrients that can be added to food and beverage products.

Year New additives New applications
2012 2 8
2013 1 4
2014 0 2
2015 0 0
2016 3 3
2017 3 0
2018 0 0

These figures indicate that the Chinese authorities have become more careful in the past few years in approving nutrients as food additives.

In July 2007, a law for managing ‘new food sources’ was adopted in China. This law regulates the approval procedure for new raw materials for the food and beverage industry. The following table shows the number of newly approved materials during the past few years, broken down in imported and domestic.

Year Imported Domestic Combined
2008 14 27 41
2009 22 48 70
2010 5 24 29
2011 11 50 61
2012 14 25 39
2013 27 44 71
2014 1 1 2
2015 9 11 20
2016 3 12 15
2017 1 8 9

These figures show a large fluctuation, but also an overall downward trend. Apparently, the control has grown stricter over the years to increase food safety.

This post can best be read in combination with the following previous posts:

Peter Peverelli is active in and with China since 1975 and regularly travels to the remotest corners of that vast nation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s