The food licensing system is classified according to the nature of activities carried out, namely food production, catering and distribution.

The Draft for Comments on the Administrative Measures on Food Operation License (“the Draft”), issued by the State Food and Drug Administration, combines the Food Distribution License and Catering Services License regimes, thus creating the new “Food Operation License” regime. The Draft’s main highlights:

  • A licensed food manufacturer does not need a Food Operation License to sell self-produced food at its premises.
  • The administration of Food Operation Licenses will be classified according to the enterprises’ activities, which are divided into three categories: (1) food distribution, (2) catering services and (3) canteen.
  • The administration of Food Operation Licenses will also be classified according to food types.
  • To obtain the Food Operation License, the applicant must have:
  1. approved premises for food storage, processing and sales according to the food type and quantity;
  2. approved equipment (for disinfection, dust protection, wastewater treatment and garbage storage) depending on the food type and quantity;
  3. full-time or part-time staff responsible for food safety techniques and management;
  4. by-laws for food safety; and
  5. a suitable equipment layout and technological processes.
  • A company with different branches must file applications in its own name for each branch to obtain an individual Food Operation License.
  • The Food Operation License will be issued for a term of up to five years.
  • Any food distribution and catering company operating without a Food Operation License may be subject to a fine of between RMB 50,000 and RMB 100,000 if the illegal profit is below RMB 10,000, or between 10 and 20 times the amount of the illegal profit if it reaches RMB 10,000 or more.

Date of issue: June 5, 2015. Deadline for public comments: July 5, 2015