BEIJING - China's top food safety authority issued new regulations Thursday, setting more stringent requirements on the use and the approval of food additives.
The Ministry of Health's "Regulations of New Food Additives," published on its website, set six new restrictions on the use of food additives.
The new regulations forbid the use of food additives to mislead consumers about the content and quality of food or to fake food content.
Using food additives to disguise decaying and bad quality food is also forbidden.
Under the new regulations, food producers are required to use the minimum amount of necessary food additives, and are not allowed to use those that would reduce the nutritional value of food.
The ministry would approve new food additives, only if they are proved to be necessary in food production and safe for humans in tests organized by the ministry, the new regulations stipulate.
The ministry must conduct reassessments of the safety of its approved food additives, when their necessity and safety are questioned by new research results.
The new regulations take effective Thursday.
Food quality in China has been a major concern after a series of scandals.
In 2004, at least 13 babies died from malnutrition in the east China's Anhui Province and another 171 were hospitalized, after consuming infant milk powder that contained too little protein.
In November 2006, the country's food safety authorities found seven companies producing salted red-yolk eggs with cancer-causing red Sudan dyes to make their eggs look redder and fresher.
And in 2008, six babies died and 300,000 others fell ill after being fed with baby formula made from milk contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine.