GB 2760-2011 Food Safety National Standards for the Usage of Food Additives

In China, only food additives on positive lists are allowed to be used in food. The food additives on positive lists are those food additives:

  • covered by national food safety standards GB 2760 & GB 14880;
  • within the list of allowable food additives announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH); and
  • within the scope of allowed applications and dosage levels;


Any additive that does not meet all three criteria above will be regarded as new food additive and requires registration and further risk assessment.

If you use food additives in China or sell food additives to China, it is very important to determine whether the additive is new or not. If the additive is new, registration of the additive with MoH is required.

GB 2760-2011 Food Safety National Standards for the Usage of Food Additives

Under this standard, a food additive refers to an artificially chemosynthetic or natural substance to be added to foods in order to improve
food quality, color, fragrance and taste, and for the purpose of preservation and processing technology. Nutrition enhancers, gum-based substances in the Paste base candy, flavoring agents and processing aids in food industry are also included in food additives.

The latest edition of GB 2760 was published on the 20th of April 2011 and entered into force on the 20th of June 2011. This standard specifies the basic principle for the usage of food additives, food additive types, application scope and maximum allowable dose level. For example, if fumaric acid is used in bread or cake, the maximum allowable dose level is 3.0g/kg. Right now this standard is being revised.

The standard includes the following lists of food additives allowed to be used in China.

List Name Number 
A1: List of approved food addtivies, application scope and maximum allowable dose level >180
A2: List of food additivies that should be used properly according to the needs of production.  77
A3: Food types that are not subject to the proper use rules of A2 >30
B2: Allowable Natural Flavors 400
B3:Allowable  Artificial Flavors 1453
C1: Food addtives auxiliaries without restrictions 37
C2: Food addtives auxiliaries with restricted scope 70
C3: Food enzyme preparations 52

How to check if a food additive is legal in China

From 2011 to 2013, many new food additives have been approved by MOH through Public Notice of MOH. These food additives are now allowed to be used in China. Meanwhile, any food including these food additives can be legally made available on Chinese market.

In the case of the food additive is covered by the National Standard GB2760-2011, GB14880-2012 or covered by any MOH Notices, it is considered as existing food additives and is allowed in China. Other applications, varieties and dosage levels, which are not listed in the GB2760-2011 or any Notice of MOH, will be regarded as new food additives and will be required to be registered.

If you would like to get the English version of GB GB2760-2011, GB14880-2012 and all lists of newly approved food additives, please complete this order form and send it to

Registration of New Food Additives in China

New food additives are regulated by the Order 73 of MoH - The Measures for The Administration of New Food Additives, which came into force on March 10, 2010. This law has replaced The Measures for Hygienic Administration of Food Additives issued on 28 March 2002.

An individual or organization intended for production, operation, use or import of a new food additive shall apply for a license from MOH.

The following materials shall be submitted:

  • Common name, function category, dose level and application scope of the additive;
  • Documents or certificates to prove technical necessity and use effect;
  • Quality specification requirements, production techniques and testing method for the food additive, as well as the method or instruction to test the additive in food;
  • Safety assessment materials, including raw materials or sources, chemical structure and physical properties, production techniques, toxicology safety assessment documents or testing reports on toxicology, and testing reports on quality specifications;
  • Samples of labeling, instructions and food additive product;
  • Documents of other countries (regions) or international organizations allowing production and use of (the additive) that are helpful to the safety assessment;


Please note: Some documents can be waived for the applications of enlarged application scope or dose levels.

After receiving applications, MOH shall organize experts from relevant fields to perform a technical review on the technical necessity and safety assessment materials of the new food additive variety and produce a conclusion about the technical review within 60 days upon receipt of the application.

Based on the conclusion of the technical review, the Ministry of Health shall grant a license to the new food additive variety that is technically necessary and meets the food safety requirements and shall include it in the list of allowable food additives for publication.

For additives that lack technical necessity or fail to meet food safety requirements, the Ministry of Health shall reject the application and provide a written justification.

Order No. 73 of MoH is available in English upon request.

Labeling of Food Additives in China

The Ministry of Health(MoH) is working on a draft national standard for the labelling of food additives. The draft standard was released in August 2011. In accordance with this draft, “Food Additive” shall be clearly presented in the prominent place of a label. The names o food additives must be consistent with GB 2760 or GB 14880 or the notice of MoH. Each additive shall be declared in a descending order of the content of each ingredient. The scope of use and the allowable dosage of a food additive as well as its application method shall also be given. In case of compound additives, the quantity of each food additive shall be indicated in a descending order. However, the content of each ingredient for a compound food additive does not need to be given in case of non-retail sales of food additive.

When food additives are used in prepackaged food for direct delivery to consumers, they shall be indicated on the label in descending order of their weights added in the process of manufacture or preparation of the food. The names of those food additives shall be declared in general names in accordance with GB 2760. The content of each ingredient does not need to be declared. This labeling requirement is specified in GB 7718-2011 Food Safety National Standards - General Rules for the Labeling of Prepackaged Foods.

Our Food Compliance Services

  • Regulatory Advice for Food Additives;
  • Registration of New Food Additives;
  • Labeling for Food Additives and Pre-packaged Food;

About Us and Contact

Initially set up by China Inspection and Quarantine(CIQ) Bureau in 2007 to provide REACH compliance services to Chinese chemical industry, CIRS has grown to be a leading provider of comprehensive chemical compliance services for companies doing businesses in/with China.

Our services cover new substance notification, registration of the import and export of toxic chemicals, registration of hazardous chemicals, classification and labeling in according to China GHS, Chinese SDS, risk assessment of industrial chemicals, food additives and cosmetic ingredients. We provide one-stop solutions to your regulatory issues in China.We also deliver the most up-to-date regulatory information about chemical control laws in China.

  • Mr. David Wan, Team Leader, Food & Health Products, CIRS China
    11F Dongguan Building, 288 Qiuyi Road, Binjiang District, Hangzhou, China, 310020
    Tel : +86 571 8720 6555 | Fax : +86 571 8720 6533

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