China Releases Draft Quality Standards for Solid Beverages

On July 26, 2023, the China Beverage Industry Association issued a preliminary opinion open for comments on the national standard of the Quality Requirements for Solid Beverages (hereinafter referred to as the preliminary opinion). Comments can be sent to The deadline is 26 September 2023.

I.Industry Background

In recent years, unscrupulous business practices have occurred from time to time, which significantly impacts the development of the solid beverage industry. In December 2021, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) issued an Announcement on Strengthening the Quality and Safety Supervision of Solid Beverages, which made clear requirements for the supervision of solid beverages. It clearly states that the national standard for Solid Beverages (GB/T29602-2013) can no longer meet the needs of the current industry development. There is an urgent need to revise the standard to better regulate the industry and promote the healthy development of the solid beverage industry.

II.Main Revisions

1.Product Classification

* The principles of classification have been added.

It stipulates that classifying shall be according to raw materials or product characteristics.

* The category of "other types of solid beverages" has been delete.

All "other types in other solid beverage" categories have been deleted, other than the subclass of "other tea solid beverages" that has been retained for tea-based solid beverages. This prevents the "misuse" or "abuse" of solid beverage. At same time, it prevents non-beverage solid foods classified as solid beverages.

The plant fat powder and lactic acid bacteria solid beverages have been set up as separate categories, which previously were under the "other types of solid beverages" category.

The "special purpose solid beverages" category has been removed, to remain consistent with the Food Production Permit Classification Catalogue (2020 revised edition) from the SAMR.

2.Technical Requirements

* The raw and auxiliary materials should conform to corresponding food standards and related regulations, specifically stating that hydrolyzed proteins (excluding collagen proteins/peptides) should not be used for protein solid beverages.

* Sensory requirements shall be consistent with GB 7101-2022.

* Basic technical requirements have been changed to physicochemical requirements, which are the same as other related standard provisions.

* Food safety requirements have been removed.

3.Testing Methods and Inspection Rules

3.1 Testing Methods

* The description of sensory inspection has been modified to align with GB 7101-2022. 

* The detection method for tea polyphenols has been updated.

* The detection methods for fruit and vegetable juice content, total flavonoids, solids, total dietary fiber, and lactic acid bacteria have been added.

3.2 Inspection Rules

Batching and Sampling:

The batching method has been refined according to common batch divisions in enterprises, providing a general batching method. The sampling quantity has been adjusted from 12 to 15.

Factory inspection:

According to the product characteristics of solid beverages, adjustments have been made to the factory inspection items. Food safety indicators have been removed, and factory quality indicators have been added.

4.Labels and Packaging

The requirements to comply with GB 7718 and GB 28050 have been removed and new requirements are added.

* Requirements for labeling the product name of solid beverages have been added;

* Requirements for labeling warning information have been added;

* Requirements for text and pictures on labels, manuals, and promotional materials have been added;

* The term "meal replacement" should not be labeled;

* Regulations have been added for the use of raw materials when naming single tea leaves and coffee.

The requirement to comply with GB 10789 has been removed and new requires are added.

* The requirement to use protective partition materials has been added.  Environmentally friendly materials should be used when protective partitions are necessary. Plastic foam materials should not be used.

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