In recent years, the emphasis on food nutrition has been high on China's agenda. In 2016, the Chinese State Council announced the "Healthy China 2030"
[i] plan, followed in 2019 by the National Health Commission (NHC)'s specific guideline, "Healthy China Operation 2019-2030."
[ii] Improving the overall national nutrition and health of China is one of the core steps to reach the goal of the
Healthy China plan by 2030. A range of concrete measures have been formulated for implementation, including:
- Reducing the use of salt, fat, and sugar
- Increasing the awareness and understanding of labeling nutrition information
- Replacing sugar with natural sweetening substances and sweeteners
- Promoting the use of "low sugar" and "sugar free" claims
- Bearing the Front-of-Panel (FOP) nutrition labeling
- Expediting the amendment of the nutrition labeling standard for prepackaged food GB28050[iii]
- Implementing voluntary nutrition labeling for catering food[iv]
These measures are likely to be embodied in the upcoming regulatory changes regarding nutrition. For instance, during Beijing's
Two-Sessions 2020 in May, the head of the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA) proposed to the National People's Congress to introduce a new nutrition legislation.
Nutrition fortification also made its way into the United States -- China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement
[vi] ("the Agreement"), which entered into force on February 14, 2020. Specifically, Article 2(f), Annex 2, Chapter 3 of the Agreement, titled "Fortified Milk", states that China will continuously allow fortified milk produced in the United States to be imported into China, subject to the National Food Safety Standard, Modified Milk (GB25191), and notify the draft standard to the WTO should China undertake development of a new standard for fortified milk (currently, there is no stand-alone standard in China that is specific to "fortified milk"). This further signals the policy support from Beijing on import of nutritionally fortified food into China, in line with the
Healthy China objective.