Food Labeling Contrast between China and EU Regulations (Part II)

In case you have not spotted the first part, here you can find the link. This is an invaluable comparison between the Chinese food labeling standards and the Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011. The part II is more focused on nutrition labeling requirements.

Nutrition declaration (Nutrition labeling)

1,Mandatory information

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011 GB7718-2011
1+6

 

  Reference intake 1+4

 

  NRV
Energy value 8400 kJ/2000 kcal Energy value 8400 kJ/2000 kcal
Fat (Total fat)70 g Protein 60 g
Saturates 20 g Fat 60g
Carbohydrate 260 g Carbohydrate 300 g
Sugars 90 g Sodium 2000 mg
Protein 50 g Note: In (EU) No 1169/2011, salt =sodium×2.5
Salt 6 g
None

If any nutrition claim or functional claim is made about nutrition component besides energy and the core nutrients, the content of such nutrition component and its corresponding NRV% should be indicated on the nutrition labeling.

None

If any nutritional fortification substances are used in pre-packed food, the content of the fortified nutrition component and its corresponding NRV% should be indicated on the nutrition labeling.

None

The content of trans fatty acid should be indicated if any hydrogenated oil and fat or partially hydrogenated oil and fat is used as an ingredient or in the manufacturing process.

Not mandatory NRV%

Note: In GB7718-2011, NRV% ×100%

In the formula, x stands for the content of one nutrient.

 

2, Supplements

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011 GB 28050-2011
Fat Reference intake Fat NRV
Mono-unsaturates (Total fat)70 g Saturates(acid) ≦20g
Polyunsaturates Trans fats(acid)  
Mono-unsaturates(acid)  
Polyunsaturates(acid)  
Cholesterol ≦300 mg
Carbohydrate   Carbohydrate  
Polyols (Carbohydrate)260g Sugar(lactose)  
Fibre Dietary fibre (monomer component, soluble or insoluble dietary fibre) 25g
Starch

 

3Exemptions

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011 GB7718-2011
Where the labeling of beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol provides a nutrition declaration, the content of the declaration may be limited to the energy value only. For beverages containing more than 0.5% by volume of ethanol, a nutrition labeling is not required.
Where food are offered for sale to the final consumer or to mass caterers without prepackaging, or where foods are packed on the sales premises at the consumer’s request or prepacked for direct sale, the content of the nutrition declaration may be limited to:

(a)    the energy value; or

(b)    the energy value together with the amounts of fat, saturates, sugars, and salt.

 
  For fresh produce such as meat, fish, vegetables and fruits, eggs etc, a nutrition labeling is not required.
Food in packaging or containers the largest surface of which has an area of less than 25 cm².

For foods which have a total surface area less than 100 cm²or a maximum surface area less than 20 cm², a nutrition labeling is not required.

Food, including handcrafted food, directly supplied by the manufacturer of small quantities of products to the final consumer or to local retail establishments directly supplying the final consumer.

For site-selling foods, a nutrition labeling is not required.

Waters intended for human consumption, including those where the only added ingredients are carbon dioxide and/or flavorings.

For packed water, a nutrition labeling is not required.
  For prepacked foods of which daily consumption are less than 10 g or 10 ml, a nutrition labeling is not required.

Other foods stipulated in ANNEX V

 

 

4, Vitamins and minerals

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011 GB 28050-2011
  NRV   NRV
Vitamin A 800μg Vitamin A 800μgRE
Vitamin D 5μg Vitamin D 5μg
Vitamin E 12mg Vitamin E 14mgα-TE
Vitamin K 75μg Vitamin K 80μg
Thiamin 1,1mg Thiamin 1.4mg
Riboflavin 1,4mg Riboflavin 1.4mg
Vitamin B6 1,4mg Vitamin B6 1.4mg
Vitamin B12 2,5μg Vitamin B12 2.4μg
Vitamin C 80mg Vitamin C 100mg
Niacin 16mg Niacin 14mg
Folic acid 200μg Folic acid 400μg DFE
Pantothenic acid 6mg Pantothenic acid 5mg
Biotin 50μg Biotin 30μg
None Choline 450mg
Phosphorus 700mg Phosphorus 700mg
Potassium 2 000mg Potassium 2000mg
Chloride 800mg None
Magnesium 375mg Magnesium 300mg
Calcium 800mg Calcium 800mg
Iron 14mg Iron 15mg
Zinc 10mg Zinc 15mg
Iodine 150μg Iodine 150μg
Selenium 55μg Selenium 50μg
Chromium 40μg None
Molybdenum 50μg None
Copper 1mg Copper 1.5mg
Fluoride 3,5mg Fluoride 1mg
Manganese 2mg Manganese 3mg

 

5, Expression of the content of nutrients

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011 GB7718-2011
Per 100g or per 100ml Per 100g or per 100ml
Per portion or per consumption unit Per portion

6Notes

A much more detailed Questions and Answers of GB 28050-2011 (Revised Version) has been provided by National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China and acts as an inseparable supplement to GB 28050-2011. It gives the basic introduction of GB 28050-2011 and clarifies relevant definitions, while elaborating on the most important parts and elements in making a nutrition labeling. It’s more intricate than GB 28050-2011 and requires more patience if one wants to master the Chinese regulations in food nutrition labeling.

Food Labeling Contrast between China and EU Regulations (Part I)

Today I publish another useful article written by Quinn Hulk, Food and Drug Administration of Beijing – Food Law Advisor and our country contributor for China. You can contact Quinn Hulk directly via e-mail at hulkquinn@163.com.

1. Basic introduction

China National Standard GB7718-2011 General Rule for the Labeling of Pre-packed Foods (hereinafter referred to as GB7718-2011) was promulgated by the Ministry of Health (now National Health and Family Planning Commission of PRC) on 20-04-2011 and entered into force on 20-04-2012, repealing China National Standard GB7718-2004.

China National Standard GB28050-2011 General Rule for Nutrition Labeling of Pre-packed Foods (hereinafter referred to as GB28050-2011) was promulgated by the Ministry of Health (now National Health and Family Planning Commission of PRC) on 12-10-2011 and entered into force on 01-01-2013.

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 was first published on 25-10-2011 and entered into force on the 20th day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. Considering the various situations among European nations and in order to allow transitional preparation, it sets out different dates for its application. Apart from 2 exceptions, point (l) of Article 9(1) and Part B of Annex VI, which shall apply from 13th Dec 2016 and became applicable from 1st January 2014, the regulation applied from 13th Dec 2014.

2. Scope

GB7718-2011 applies to the label of pre-packed food directly and indirectly provided to consumers. It does not apply to the package for the protection of pre-packed foods in transport and storage, unpacked foods as well as site-selling foods.

As for the unpacked foods, provisions available include Article 54 of Food Safety Law and Regulations on the Hygiene of Unpacked Food(a ministerial regulation still effective but not practicable, barely noticed anymore because it’s made in accordance with Food Hygiene Law, which has been repealed and abolished on 1st June of 2009, replaced by the old version of Food Safety Law

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011 applies to food business operators at all stages of the food chain. It applies to all foods intended for the final consumer, including foods delivered by mass caterers and foods intended for supply to mass caterers. It also applies to catering services provided by transport undertakings when the departure takes place on the territories of the Member States to which the Treaties apply.

Compared with Chinese regulations, Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011 has a much wider scope. It covers basically all foods at all stages.

3.

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011

List of mandatory particulars

Article 9

GB7718-2011

Labeling information of pre-packed food supplied directly to consumers 4.1

Name of food Name of food
List of ingredients List of ingredients
Allergens Recommended, not mandatory
The net quantity of the food The net quantity of the food and specifications
The quantity of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients Quantitative indication of ingredients
The date of minimum durability or use by date Production date and quality guarantee period (shelf life)
Any special storage conditions or conditions of use Storage conditions
Name or business name and address of the food business operator Name, address, contact information of food manufacturers and food distributors
Country of origin or place of provenance
Instructions for use where it would be difficult to make appropriate use of food in the absence of such instructions
The actual alcoholic strength by volume for beverages containing more than 1.2% alcohol
Nutrition declaration Nutrition label
Product standard code
License No. of food manufacturing certificate
Other

indications

Ionizing radiation processed food or ingredients
Genetically modified foods
Quality grade if stipulated so in product standard

4.

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011

Presentation of mandatory particulars

Article 13

GB7718-2011

Basic requirements

3.9

In Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011, Article 13 requires that the x-height can be equal to or greater than 0,9 mm only when the largest surface of packaging or containers has an area of less than 80 cm2. Under normal circumstances, the x-height should be equal to or greater than 1,2 mm.

 

In GB7718-2011, the height of character should not be less than 1,8mm when the maximum surface area is larger than 35cm2. When the maximum surface area is larger than 10 cm2but less than 35 cm2, the height of character can be less than 1,8mm. The visibility and legibility should not be reduced nonetheless.
Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011 has a minimum size of character. GB7718-2011 doesn’t limit the minimum size.

 

5.

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011

Distance selling

Article 14

GB7718-2011

No such provisions

6.

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011

Omission of certain mandatory particulars

Article 16

GB7718-2011

Exemptions of particulars

4.3

List of ingredients and a nutrition declaration shall not be mandatory for beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol, unless Union provisions require otherwise. Vinegar, salt, solid sugar, monosodium glutamate can be exempted from presenting the information of quality guarantee period together with alcoholic beverages which contain more than 10% by volume of alcohol.
Only the following information shall be mandatory for the packaging or containers the largest surface of which has an area of less than 10cm2.

(1)    the name of the food

(2)    any ingredient or processing aid listed in Annex or derived from a substance or product listed in Annex causing allergies or intolerances used in the manufacture or preparation of a food and still present in the finished product, even if in an altered form

(3)    the net quantity of the food

(4)    the date of minimum durability or the “use by “date

The list of ingredients, however, shall be provided through other means or shall be made available at the request of the consumers.

Only the name of the food, net quantity, name and address of the manufacture (or distributor) are required when the maximum surface area is less than 10cm2.
For glass bottles intended for reuse which are indelibly marked and bear no label, ring or collar, only the following information are mandatory

(1)the name of the food

(2)any ingredient or processing aid listed in Annex or derived from a substance or product listed in Annex causing allergies or intolerances used in the manufacture or preparation of a food and still present in the finished product, even if in an altered form

(3)the net quantity of the food

(4)the date of minimum durability or the “use by “date

(5) a nutrition declaration

No such provisions.
Nutrition declaration is not mandatory for the foods in Annex V, unless otherwise stipulated by Union provisions.  

7.

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011

Quantitative indication of ingredients

Article 22

GB7718-2011

Quantitative indication of ingredients

4.1.4

If the ingredient or category of ingredients is emphasized on the labeling in words, pictures or graphics, the quantitative indication of an ingredient or category of ingredients shall be required. If one or more valuable and characteristic ingredient or category of ingredients is emphasized in the labeling or instructions, the quantitative indication of an ingredient or category of ingredients shall be required.
No such provisions If it is emphasized that the content of one ingredient or category of ingredients is comparatively low or does not exist, the quantitative indication of the ingredient or category of ingredients shall be required.
If the ingredient or category of ingredients appears in the name of the food or is usually associated with that name by the consumer, the quantitative indication of an ingredient or category of ingredients shall be required. If the ingredient or category of ingredients is just mentioned in the name of the food and no emphasis is made in the labeling, the quantitative indication of an ingredient or category of ingredients is unnecessary.
If the ingredient or category of ingredients is essential to characterize a food and to distinguish it from products with which it might be confused because of its name or appearance, the quantitative indication of an ingredient or category of ingredients shall be required. No such provisions.

8.

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011

Date of minimum durability, ‘use by’ date and date of freezing

Article 24

GB7718-2011

Quality guarantee period

Annex C.4

Date of minimum durability Best before… It is highly suggested that you consume the food before…
Best before end… Consume the food best before…
Use by… Best before…
Frozen on… Best before the date….
Consume the food best before the date…
Quality guaranteed period until…
Quality guaranteed period…months(or days, weeks, years)

9.

Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011

Storage conditions or conditions of use

Article 25

GB7718-2011

The indications of storage condition

Annex C.5

In cases of where foods require special storage conditions and/or conditions of use, those conditions shall be indicated. Store in normal temperature.

Store in refrigeration.

Store in freezing area.

Store in dark place.

Store in cool and dry place.

To enable appropriate storage or use of the food after opening the package, the storage conditions and/or time limit consumption shall be indicated, where appropriate. Store in xx-xx℃.
Please put the product in cool and dry place.
Store in normal temperature and keep refrigerated after opening.
Temperature:≤xx℃,Humidity: ≤xx%

10. Article 13 of Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011 stipulates that food information shall be marked in a conspicuous place in such a way as to be easily visible, clearly legible and, where appropriate, indelible. GB7718-2011 does not have such provisions, which leads to the fact that many MSEs adopt cost-saving way to label the information. In law enforcement practice, we have found that many people (especially so-called ‘professional defective-food buyers’) deliberately erase the poorly labeled food information such as production date in order to extort money from big supermarkets by filing a report to local jurisdictional FDAs. Some supermarkets are likely to erase it and reprint a new production date, which is also illegal.

Overall speaking, Reg. (EU) No 1169/2011 provides a much more detailed and comprehensive provision concerning food labeling information. GB7718-2011 is comparatively less consumer-oriented, which contributes to the fact that local FDAs at provincial and city level are plagued by ‘professional defective-food buyersand spend most of the administrative resources on trivialities and are forced to leave the real food safety problems unattended due to high work burden, lack of food science knowledge and most of all, a bureaucratic system.