Final Approvals Issued for Food Packaging Materials Submitted Under China's "Clean-Up" Procedures
China's National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), formerly known as the Ministry of Health (MOH), has issued the final approvals for food packaging materials petitioned under the country's "clean-up" procedures. The "clean-up" procedures allowed manufacturers of unapproved food packaging materials to file petitions prior to June 1, 2010, seeking an appropriate clearance. (For more background information, see the PackagingLaw.com article: Regulation of Food Packaging Materials in the People's Republic of China.)
Under the "clean-up" procedures, Chinese authorities reviewed over 3,000 petitions. In addition to this final batch of approvals for 258 additives intended for food-contact use, China previously issued official approvals for 107 resins and 301 additives intended for food-contact use in China. The additive approvals will be incorporated into China's Hygienic Standard for Additives in Food Containers and Packaging Materials (GB 9685-2008) upon its revision later this year. However, while China retains a number of Standards governing food-contact resins, NHFPC has not yet determined how the 107 resins approved during the "clean-up" procedures will be incorporated (or developed) into Chinese Standards.
Food packaging substances that are not currently the subject of an official Chinese approval are now considered unlawful and are subject to enforcement action by Chinese authorities. Manufacturers of food packaging materials that lack a suitable regulatory status in China will need to submit a formal petition under MOH's Management Rules for the Administrative Approval of New Varieties of Food Related Products and receive approval before those materials can be legally marketed in China.