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China: Standards for plant-based meat alternative products newly issued

Standards have been laid out for this growing sector in China, including labeling requirements.

On December 25, 2020, the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST) issued the voluntary group standard Plant-Based Meat Products (T/CIFST 001-2020), which provides definitions, technical requirements, and guidelines on the labeling, packaging, transportation, and storage of plant-based meat alternative products. The standard will be implemented on June 25, 2021.

The plant-based meat alternative sector in China is growing, with a dozen plant-based meat alternative companies having emerged in 2019, introducing a large variety of new products to consumers in China.

The document lays out requirements for labeling of these products. If the product category name cannot reflect the true attributes of the product or cannot clearly reflect that the product uses plant raw materials, a descriptive word reflecting the plant-derived ingredients or indicating that the product simulates animal meat product could be used jointly with the product category name. (i.e. Plant sausage, Plant ham, Plant barbecued pork)

The product label shall have words indicating that the product is different from animal meat products. Words such as "plant-derived" and "non-animal-derived" can be used to describe the raw material source of the final product, and it can also use the word "Vegetable" as an auxiliary description.

January 14, 2021/ UDSA and CIFST/ United States and China.

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