Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Food Labeling for Soliciting Opinions
New food labeling regulations escort the tip of the tongue for safety
● Food labeling is commonly referred to as food labels and instructions, covering food laws and regulations, hygiene, nutrition, religion, warnings, etc. It is a carrier reflecting the status of food safety, hygiene and quality, and an important safeguard measure for food safety and quality control
● Food production violations such as unlicensed production, adulteration, and illegal addition are often related to food labels. The illegal behaviors hidden behind food labels are very hidden and bad in nature, directly endangering the vital interests of consumers and hindering the healthy development of the industry. Disrupt the order of the market economy
● The prohibition of food production and operation enterprises from marking “no additives” and “zero additives” on the outer packaging of food will not only help standardize and restrict the production and operation of enterprises, but also fully protect consumers’ right to know
□ Our reporter Wan Jing
Recently, the "Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Food Labeling (Draft for Soliciting Comments)" (hereinafter referred to as the "Draft for Soliciting Comments") is publicly soliciting opinions on the website of the State Administration for Market Regulation and will continue to collect opinions until August 26 this year.
In the past, some headaches on food labeling have been proposed in the "Draft for Comments". For example, in the production and operation of genetically modified food, the food label should be marked with the words "GMO"; words such as "zero addition", "special supply", "special" and "special demand" are not allowed to appear on the food label.
The so-called food label, which is commonly referred to as food labels and instructions, covers food regulations, hygiene, nutrition, religion, warnings, etc., is a carrier that reflects the status of food safety, hygiene and quality, and is also an important safeguard measure for food safety and quality control .
Experts interviewed by a reporter from the Rule of Law Daily believe that food labeling is the easiest and most important way for consumers to obtain food-related information, and it is also the first source of information for consumers to decide whether to purchase the product. However, the current reality is that food production violations such as unlicensed production, adulteration, and illegal addition are often related to labeling. Therefore, comprehensive measures are needed to strengthen credit supervision and joint punishment to effectively deter the source of food labeling violations.
Edible salt is clearly marked whether "iodized"
Genetically modified food must be labeled "GMO"
When I got a package of food, it happened occasionally that I couldn't find the production date or the shelf life. I finally found the production date, but the handwriting was blurred. In the future, such situations will be expressly prohibited.
Where should the production date and shelf life be marked? The "Draft for Solicitation of Comments" clearly stated that the production date and quality guarantee date should be marked prominently and can be printed on the packaging surface with a white background; if laser etching is used to mark the production date and quality guarantee date, the text should be clear. The height of the characters of the production date and the quality guarantee date shall not be less than 3 mm. Where the shelf life of food does not exceed 72 hours, the date of production and shelf life of the food should be marked in hours.
When the "Food Labeling Supervision and Management Measures" are formally implemented, the "Food Labeling Management Regulations" promulgated by the former General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, and the "Health Food Labeling Regulations" promulgated by the former Ministry of Health shall be repealed at the same time.
On July 30, the "Food Safety Supervision Sampling Inspection Situation in the First Half of 2020" issued by the General Administration of Market Supervision showed that in the first half of the year, the national market supervision system completed a total of 1,380,697 batches of food safety supervision sampling inspections, which were inspected in accordance with relevant national food safety standards. There were 29,153 batches of unqualified samples, and the overall unqualified rate was 2.11%, a year-on-year decrease of 0.25 percentage points.
At present, the basis of food labeling management in my country lacks integrity, uniformity, system, and authority.
The "Draft for Solicitation of Comments" clarified the definition of food labeling: "Words, symbols, numbers, patterns that are pasted, printed, labeled or attached to food or its packaging to identify and explain the basic information, characteristics or attributes of food The general term and other instructions.” It also emphasizes that “food labeling includes labels and instructions.” At the same time, it also clarifies the division of labor between the regulatory agencies at all levels, and highlights the regulatory and legal responsibilities of all parties.
In addition, according to the "Draft for Comments", iodized edible salt and liquid milk produced from reconstituted milk also need to be clearly marked. If edible salt is iodized, the words "Iodized" shall be marked on the main display page of the food package and the iodine content shall be marked; if the edible salt is not iodized, it shall be marked "No iodine". Where reconstituted milk is used as a raw material to produce liquid milk, the word "reconstituted milk" should be marked in the immediate vicinity of the product name.
Experts interviewed by reporters from the "Rules of Law Daily" believe that the provisions of the "Draft for Comments" reflect the pragmatic spirit of advancing with the times. Clearly labeling the ingredients of edible salt whether "iodized" is conducive to common people's choice; clearly labeling the ingredients of "reconstituted milk" is a manifestation of respect for consumers' right to know.
The "Draft for Comments" also highlights the importance of my country's food additive management.
Food additives are the most active research and development in the food industry, and one of the fastest growing and improving content. Many food additives have improved rapidly in terms of purity and efficacy. On the one hand, food additives have greatly promoted the development of the food industry and are hailed as the soul of the modern food industry; on the other hand, the abuse of food additives and industry irregularities have brought more and more problems to food safety. The attention of consumers.
Gao Qinwei, a professor at the School of Law of Central University of Finance and Economics, said: “The selection of food additives must comply with the safety principles, that is, additives must not destroy the nutrients of the food, and must not affect the quality and flavor of the food; they must not cover up the defects of spoiled and spoiled food; they are convenient and safe to use and meet the corresponding quality. The indicator does not produce toxic and harmful substances; it can be analyzed and identified when used in food."
It is worth noting that the "Draft for Solicitation of Comments" specifically proposes that the production and operation of genetically modified foods should be marked with the words "transgenic" on the food label. For food materials that do not use genetically modified foods, it is not allowed to introduce or promote food with the words "non-genetically modified", "non-transgenic" or similar words.
Food safety issues have always been the focus of social attention, especially the controversy over genetically modified foods for a long time. At present, my country's approval for the commercial cultivation of genetically modified crops is only genetically modified cotton and papaya, and no approval for the commercial cultivation of genetically modified food crops.
my country implements a compulsory labeling system for genetically modified foods. In the agricultural genetically modified organisms catalog that implements labeling management, all agricultural genetically modified organisms listed in the labeling management catalog and used for sale must be marked.
Food labeling does not emphasize specific groups of people
Special food label does not claim function
What content must not appear on food labels? The "Draft for Solicitation of Comments" clearly put forward 10 items of food labeling that are "not allowed".
They are: expressly, impliedly, and related to disease prevention and treatment; non-health food expressly or impliedly have health effects; deceptively or misleadingly described or introduced food; product description cannot confirm its basis; for food For substances that do not contain or are not used, use the words "no addition", "zero addition", "does not contain" or similar words to emphasize those that do not contain or are not used; for unused genetically modified food materials, use "non-genetically modified", "non-genetically modified" or Use similar words to introduce food; use food names and text descriptions that violate ethics or public order and good customs; use registered drug names as food names; use words such as "special supply", "special production", "special needs", and "supervised production" to introduce food The content that is prohibited by laws, regulations and food safety standards.
In recent years, more and more food production and operation companies like to mark "zero addition" and "no addition" on their outer packaging to win the trust and favor of consumers. However, in the eyes of industry insiders, this is some food production and operation companies playing tricks.
According to Xiong Wenzhao, a professor at the Law School of Minzu University of China, according to the understanding of most consumers, “zero additives” and “no additives” in food means that the food does not contain any additives, which often means that the food is safer and healthier. . But in fact, many foods can be stored for a long time without deterioration because of the use of food additives. As long as the use of food additives is legal and appropriate and within the safe range, it will not cause harm to the health of the consumers. The prohibition of food production and operation enterprises from marking "no additives" and "zero additives" on the outer packaging of food will not only help standardize and restrict the production and operation of enterprises, but also fully protect consumers' right to know.
The reporter of the Rule of Law Daily noted that the special requirements for special food labeling in Chapter 4 of the "Draft for Comments" specifically proposed that the labels and instructions of special foods such as health foods, formulas for special medical purposes, and formulas for infants and young children should Compliance with relevant laws, regulations, national food safety standards, and regulations on product registration and filing management, and the content of the registration certificate or filing voucher shall be consistent with the special food labels and instructions published by the food safety supervision and management department above the provincial level. The contents of the special food instructions and labels should be consistent. If the label has covered all the contents of the instructions, the instructions need not be attached.
With regard to infant formula milk powder, the "Draft for Comments" clearly stated that the content and function claims should not be made for infant formula milk powder suitable for 0-6 months of age. The optional ingredients can be displayed on the non-main display page in the form of text, and the content and function claims permitted by the national food safety standards can be carried out.
In addition, the health food label should include the product name, raw materials and auxiliary materials, functional ingredients or iconic ingredients and content, suitable people, unsuitable people, health functions, health food labels, health food registration numbers or filing numbers, warning language areas and warnings Terms etc.
According to Qi Jiangang, a professor at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, there are currently three common ways to promote health foods in China: one is that the health food exceeds the approved content, false and exaggerated; the other is that ordinary food claims to have health food effects, and ordinary food has not been approved. It claims to have various effects, even its efficacy exceeds the function of health food; third, other products falsely use the name "health products" to claim health effects.
"Much of the problem of illegal addition of health foods reported by the society is not real health foods. These products without safety review are under the guise of health foods and are outside the legal supervision. Illegal addition of drugs and other products can only be used for health care. The situation of food raw materials is very common. For example, some illegal businesses do not produce according to approved and registered formulas and add drugs to health foods, such as adding glibenclamide to auxiliary blood sugar lowering products, and adding sidium to immune enhancement products Nafei, etc. The illegal addition of drugs to non-health foods and the use of raw materials that can only be used in health foods are particularly bad.” Qi Jiangang said.
Illegal acts are mostly hidden in food labels
Multiple measures should be taken to rectify fraudulent signs
Food safety issues have always been an important livelihood issue, especially food and health product fraud and false propaganda are hot topics among the people. This is inseparable from the problem of false labeling of food and health food. As a hot, difficult and recurring problem, although the food labeling problem has gradually improved after repeated rectification, it is still not optimistic and needs to arouse the attention of the whole society.
Qi Jiangang believes that food labeling seems to be a small problem, but it is actually a big problem. Food labeling is like a mirror. It is the easiest and most important way for consumers to obtain food-related information. It is also the first source of information for consumers to decide whether to buy the product. Moreover, illegal food production activities such as unlicensed production, adulteration, and illegal addition are often related to labeling. It can be said that the illegal acts hidden behind food labels are very hidden and bad in nature, directly endangering the vital interests of consumers, hindering the healthy development of the industry, and disrupting the order of the market economy.
In Gao Qinwei's view, it depends on many aspects if we want to see more obvious results in rectifying food labeling fraud. Innovative supervision methods and methods, strengthening credit supervision, coordinated supervision and joint punishment, etc., are all effective measures. What needs to be particularly pointed out is that the legal basis for investigating food labeling issues is clear. The administrative department should focus on investigating a number of influential cases and punishing people in strict accordance with the law. The evidence should be confirmed, the procedures are legal, and the punishment should be in place. Offenders pay the due price to effectively deter the source of food labeling violations.
Xiong Wenzhao suggested that, in addition to the role of the administrative department, other forces should be mobilized to actively participate in the correction of food label fraud. It is necessary to give full play to the power of the media, especially new media, give full play to the role of industry organizations and consumer organizations, increase exposure to illegal food labeling, and improve consumers' ability to identify fakes. At the same time, it is necessary to further implement the civil compensation liability for offenders of food labeling. From a legal perspective, false food labels often violate the relevant provisions of the Consumer Protection Law and the Food Safety Law at the same time, and they need to bear the legal responsibility of punitive damages. In adjudicating such cases, the judiciary must fully consider the severity and urgency of the current food labeling problem, so that the punitive damages system can play a greater role in counterfeiting food labeling.