SAMR Issues Standards to Enhance Safety Regulation on Ready Meals

SAMR Issues Standards to Enhance Safety Regulation on Ready Meals
Photo: 22.03.2024 241

The new rules will help streamline China's prepared meal market, experts say.

China has laid out nationwide standards to bolster supervision of the fast-growing market for prepared meals, including requirements on raw materials, ingredients, storage, transportation, and sales.

Six Chinese regulatory bodies, including the State Administration for Market Regulation, yesterday issued the standards, which address several concerns, such as what the definition of ready meals is and how to guarantee their safety.

The size of China’s prepared meal market widened 23 percent to CNY516.5 billion (USD71.5 billion) last year from the year before and is expected to exceed CNY1.07 trillion (USD148.3 billion) by 2026, according to a report by Dongguan Securities.

Ready meals are prepacked meals using edible agricultural products that have gone through industrialized pre-processing and can only be eaten after being heated or cooked, according to the new standards. Prepacked clean vegetables, quick-frozen noodles and rice, and instant foods are not ready meals.

The quality of raw materials for ready meals should be strictly supervised, and related quality and standard certificates for edible agricultural products should be tightly monitored, the standards said. The use of food additives in ready meals should be strictly controlled, they added.

Moreover, the standards proposed to promote the catering industry in disclosing the use of premade meals to protect consumers’ right to be informed.

The competition in China’s premade meal market is scattered, so the enhancement of regulation will make the market more centralized, according to Founder Securities.

The issuance of standards will raise the threshold for companies to enter the ready meal market, thus strengthening its healthy and orderly development, Huatai Securities said. In implementing these policies, small firms that cannot meet the requirements may be forced out in the short term, Huatai added.

Source: Yicai Global

food markets  China 

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