China to “Blacklist” Violators of Food Safety Legislation in Severe Cases

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December 4, 2019Xiaolu WangBlog

The State Council of China issued the Implementing Regulation on the Food Safety Law (食品安全法实施条例) (the regulation) on 11 October 2019. The regulation was published online on 31 October 2019 and will become effective on 1 December 2019. The regulation will introduce various requirements aimed to strengthen the administration of food safety related issues in China.

Verisk 3E Review            

Compared to the current version of the Implementing Regulation on the Food Safety Law issued in 2016, the following significant revisions will be introduced as of 1 December 2019:

  • It will be clarified that companies that have established internal food safety standards are required to notify the health commissions at the provincial level of these standards if they contain stricter requirements than those under applicable national or local standards. These standards must also be made publicly available.
  • The Chinese authorities will establish a credibility system for companies operating in the food industry. This system will consist of a "blacklist" of companies that severely violate applicable food safety-related regulatory requirements. Being identified on this list will negatively affect the credit ratings of companies and their ability to obtain loans.
  • Civil penalties, such as fines, may be imposed on the legal representatives or major responsible persons of a violator of the regulation in severe cases, provided that all prerequisites listed under article 75 of the regulation have been met.
  • No health claims can be made for food products with the exception of dietary supplements/health foods.
  • No local food safety standards may be issued for certain products, such as dietary supplements, special formula foods for medical purposes and infant formula. These products are also prohibited from being sold together with other food products or medicine.

Verisk 3E Analysis          

Companies that manufacture, import or sell food products in China should note that the Implementing Regulation on the Food Safety Law was recently amended. The amended regulation would strengthen food safety management through various administrative measures, including requiring mandatory notification of enterprise food safety standards, imposing fines on legal representatives of violators and listing companies that commit severe violations on a "blacklist." Additional requirements have also been imposed on certain special foods such as dietary supplements. It is recommended that affected companies review the regulation to ensure compliance.