China MOH to Approve 261 New Food Contact Additives

Original Article by CIRS

27 Nov 2012, The Ministry of Health of China publishes the third batch of 261 food contact additives for public consultations. The deadline for comments is 10 Dec 2012.

The list includes the names of food contact additives, CAS numbers, the scope of use, maximum level and maximum permitted quantity(QM) or specific migration limit(SML);


The list can be found here.

Background Info

The Article 32 & 62 of China Food Safety Law prohibits the importation, use or purchase of food-related products (e.g., food additive, food packaging materials) not complying with applicable Chinese Food Safety Standards. The most important food safety standard for food contact additive is GB 9685-2008 Hygienic Standard for Use of Additives in Food Containers and Packaging Materials and it includes 959 approved food contact additives(including monomers) and this standard is regarded as a positive list of food contact additives in China. Food contact additives that are not on the positive list must be approved by health authorities first.

However, when the standard was issued in 2008, it received strong complaints from industry because many other food contact additives that had been approved in EU & USA or proved to be safe were already placed on Chinese market and were not yet included in the standard. To cope with this, the MoH and other ministries jointly issued a circular in 2009 allowing industry to petition by 1 June 2010 the Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety (INFS) for the listing of substances not yet listed on GB9685-2008 or other Chinese standards which are safe for contact use. This is called ‘Grandfathering Process’. As a result of this process, the MOH reviewed submitted petitions, approved more food contact additives in several batches and expanded the positive list from 959 substances to more than 1,500 food contact additives.

The update history of the positive list of food contact additives is listed as follows:

Year of Issue

Regulation or Notice

No. of substances approved


MOH Notice 2013-5



MOH Notice 2012-11



MOH Notice 2012-5



GB 9685-2008



If you would like to get the English version of GB 9685-2008 and newly approved food contact additives, please complete this order form and send it to

More info about food contact regulations and food contact notifications in China, please click here.

  • Mr David Wan, Team Leader, Food & Health Products, CIRS China
    11F Dongguan Building, 288 Qiuyi Road, Binjiang District, Hangzhou, China, 310052
    Tel: +86-571 8720 6555 | Fax: +86-571 8720 6533