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Breaking News: China Publishes Long-Awaited Food Safety Law Implementation Regulation

On October 31, 2019, China's State Council published the Regulation on the Implementation of the Food Safety Law ("Regulation"). [1] The new Regulation contains 10 chapters and 86 articles, outlining detailed rules for food surveillance and assessment, food safety standards, food inspection, food import and export, etc. The Regulation will become effective on December 1, 2019.

Compared with the 2017 draft for comment, see Keller and Heckman's China Regulatory Matters newsletter available here, some of the notable changes are as follows:

  • A food manufacturer or operator may start following a new food safety standard before its date of effectiveness.
  • The food sales and catering services license is now the food operation license, and its period of validation is now five years in order to be consistent with the current food operation licensing regulation. [2]
  • The Regulation contains a definition for "recovered food" which includes food recalled or returned due to a violation of the law, but excludes food continued for sale after the labeling defects are corrected.
  • Prominent labeling is required for the production and operation of genetically modified foods by following the labeling rules promulgated by SAMR and MARA.[3]
  • In addition to the person in charge and some others from the company, the legal representative of a company also will be fined for a company's food safety violations or even fraudulent food advertising, and the fines are increased to up to 10 times the individual's income of the previous year for intentional or very serious illegal acts.
  • The State will reward the informants on food safety violations, especially whistle-blowers inside a company. At the same time, serious violators will be blacklisted and publicized.

The new Regulation qualifies and expands some of the requirements under the Food Safety Law and will serve as a critical food safety regulatory document in the coming years. The industry should be mindful of the requirements under the Regulation to avoid noncompliance that can often lead to disruption of business operations in China. We are preparing an unofficial English translation, which will be available for a nominal fee.

Should you have any questions about the Regulation, please do not hesitate to contact David Ettinger (, Jenny Li (, Eric Gu(, or your existing contact at Keller and Heckman LLP.

[1]  See

[2]  See Management Rules for Food Operation Licensing.
[3]  SAMR: State Administration for Market Regulation; MARA: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.  The GM food labeling rules jointly promulgated by SAMR and MARA are yet to be established; before that, the current Management Rules for the Labeling of Agricultural GMOs by MARA still should be followed.