In May 2013, the Chinese Ministry of Health (MOH) published a third list of substances approved for food packaging materials. The list contains 258 substances, building on the previously published 2011 list of 107 and the 2012 list of 301 food packaging additives. All three lists specify the approved use of the substance, a maximum allowed level at which the substance may be added to a food contact material and a Specific Migration Limit (SML) or Maximum Permitted Quantity (QM). QM refers to the maximum permitted residual quantity of the substance in the packaging material. Three substances were removed from the draft list published in November 2012, namely cerium sulphide (CAS # 12014-93-6), 1,3-cyclohexanedimethanol (CAS # 3971-28-6) and poly[oxy(methylenebis[4-isocyanatobenzene] (CAS # 9048-57-1).

Substances not listed may still be used in food packaging materials, but require registration as “new food additive” with the National Center for Health Inspection and Supervision under the MOH. According to Sally Li, Regulatory Consultant at the environment, health and safety compliance consultancy Enhesa, the MOH is soon expected to issue a list of substances prohibited from the use in food packaging material.

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Environmental Leader

List of approved substances (in Chinese, pdf)