SGS Informs on China Updating National Labeling and Safety Standards for Packaged Drinking Water

China’s Department of Food Safety Standard, Risk Surveillance and Assessment, National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) published new requirements for packaged drinking water products.

Shanghai, China, February 28, 2015 --( National food safety standard GB 19298-2014 – Packaged Drinking Water, was published on 24 December 2014 and will come into effect on 24 May 2015. The standard is applicable to all packaged water products destined for direct consumption, excluding natural mineral water products. GB 19298-2014 will replace GB 19298-2003 – Hygienic Standard of Bottled Water for Drinking and GB 17323-1998 – Bottled Purified Water for Drinking, harmonizing China’s regulation of packaged water products.

The standard for natural mineral water will be further revised by national food safety standard GB 8537 – Drinking Natural Mineral Water.

Labeling Requirements for Packaged Drinking Water

The GB 19298-2014 ( standard includes labeling requirements (4.1 and 4.2) that will come into effect on 1 January 2016.

There are two main raw water sources for packaged drinking water:

- Public water supply systems
- Non-public (namely surface or ground water) supply systems

There are clear requirements in the new standard that are applicable to packaged water products originating from both of these sources. Labels such as, “this product includes food additive for taste adjustment”, should be placed close to the product name on the label. This requirement applies to additives such as magnesium sulphate, zinc sulphate, calcium chloride, potassium chloride and other additives used during the production process.

Packaged Drinking Water - Product Naming

To meet the requirements of the new standard, the name given to a packaged drinking water product should be scientifically correct. It is not permissible to name a product by one, or several, ingredients, except for water. The misleading practice of using creative marketing descriptions for aquatic products will be regulated.

Requirements for Microorganisms in Bottled Water

The most important change of the standard concerns the requirements for microorganisms. While the product standard has added a requirement on pathogen microorganism Pseudomonas Aeruginosa as well as keeping those on coliform germs. It no longer includes requirements on total bacteria, mould and yeasts count, Staphylococcus Aureus, Salmonella or Shigella.

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