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China standardises nutrition labelling guidelines

By Jennifer Phang , 10-Jan-2012
Last updated on 19-Jan-2012 at 15:47 GMT

In a bid to create unified standards and transparency across packaged products in China, the Ministry of Health has issued nutritional labelling standards, set to commence in January, 2013.

The ministry is hoping to tighten claims made by manufacturers on packaged products and cut down on health benefit exaggerations.

The new labeling guidelines mean that food manufacturers will have to validate any nutritional claims and nutrient functions including labelling of energy, protein, trans fats, fat, carbohydrates and sodium contents.

It marks part of a wider government plan to regulate the food industry, but also aims to encourage consumers to make educated choices when purchasing food products.

Industry and consumer benefits

Currently China has no national standard for nutritional labelling of food and beverage products, the interpretation of nutritional contents of products can be classified at the manufacturer’s discretion.

Professor Xiumei Liu from the National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety told FoodNavigator-Asia that the new nutrition food labeling would benefit manufactures as well as consumers.

“This nutrition labeling will motivate consumers to become more conscious and aware of their health, lifestyle and diets. At the same time, food manufacturers would become more responsible on their claims,” Liu said.

She added that this move will lead to improved uniformity in food standards and quality.

Many Chinese consumers have complained that current labels on local food products are unreliable and labels do not provide accurate information, prompting a government review of the situation.

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