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Food additives in China

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China SME Centre.

Sensitivity to food additives in China is part of the widespread concern over food safety.

Particularly as the majority of reported food safety incidents are the result of criminal contamination with illegal additives - as was the case in the melamine scandal of 2008. More insidious is the general public’s fear that to economise on costs, Chinese producers add more chemicals than are necessary. The average packaged food in China will often contain more additives than its equivalent in Europe. In an attempt to address these concerns, Chinese regulators have a strict focus on food additives. European producers will have little difficulty in complying with China’s food additive requirements including labelling, however, as approved additives are harmonised with international standards. It should be noted that registering a new additive may be a costly process better addressed through a food organisation or association rather than individual companies.

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