China infant food standards: Authorities seek public consultation for new safety rules

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Chinese authorities are conducting a public consultation for the new food safety standards, including limits on pathogens and mycotoxin. ©Getty Images
The Chinese authorities are conducting a public consultation for the new food safety standards, including limits on pathogens and mycotoxin. ©Getty Images

Related tags: China, Infant, Infant formula, regulations

The Chinese authorities are conducting a public consultation for the new food safety standards that it has drafted for a number of food items, including liquid infant formula, infant formula powder, and infant food.

According to one of the changes made to the food safety standard GB2762 (The maximum residue limit of contaminant in food), the maximum amount of lead residue permitted in liquid infant formula has been adjusted.

It will be decreased from 0.02mg/kg to 0.01mg/kg – one-eighth of the amount permitted in infant formula powder.

The amount of lead permitted in infant formula powder will also be decreased from 0.15mg/kg to 0.08mg/kg, while that of baby auxiliary food will be reduced to a 0.2mg/kg regardless of the raw material used.

Other than lead, the authorities also sought to control the maximum amount of other residue types which were not regulated previously.

They are nitrite, nitrate, and cadmium.

For example, the maximum amount of nitrite and nitrate permitted in liquid infant formula is 0.25mg/kg and 12.5mg/kg respectively. The maximum amount of cadmium permitted in cereal-based baby auxiliary food is set at 0.06mg/kg.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said that the public consultation would end on Feb 28.

Mycotoxin

Another area concerning infant food are the changes made to the food safety standard GB2761, which covers the maximum residue limit of mycotoxin in food.

The maximum limit of aflatoxin B1 and M1 permitted in liquid infant formula will be one-eighth of that of infant formula powder to reach 0.5μg​/kg.

The authorities also added the limit of fumonisin FB allowed in cereal-based baby auxiliary food should be 200μg​/kg.

Pathogens

Revision was also made to the maximum residue limit of pathogens, such as salmonella and enterobacter sakazakii, in infant formula and foods for special medical purposes (FSMPs) for infants.

There is different maximum residue limit allowed for different pathogens.

For example, in the case of staphylococcus aureus, out of five samples tested, a maximum of two samples could contain staphylococcus aureus exceeding the acceptable pathogenic bacteria indicator of 10 CFU/g.

Food safety supervision

The Chinese authorities have pointed out food safety as one of its key priorities.

Last month, we reported​ how China’s revised Food Safety Law will enhance its law enforcement and emphasise consumer’s protection.

Supervising food agencies may carry out random inspections on factories.

The country also outlined a set of food safety proposals​ last year, with the purpose of achieving two main goals, which is to 1)ensure that 98% of all products fulfill spot-check requirements by this year, and 2) that the nation’s food safety standards will be regarded as the world’s best by 2035.

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