New Chinese labelling rules in force from next year should change consumer behaviour, encouraging the purchase of healthier foods, a government health expert has told just-food.

Beijing says pre-packaged foods must carry nutrition fact sheets on labels, stating calories, protein, fat, carbohydrate and sodium content. Trans fats will have to be declared.

A senior researcher at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a health ministry agency, said the Ministry of Health “will be supervising the nutrition facts label and there will be a department examining if the numbers are authentic”.

She said Chinese consumers have been consuming excess sodium, increasing hypertension and cardiovascular disease. “It is essential for China to introduce the nutrition facts label,” she added.

Ministry documents stressed the labelling regulation was part of China’s 12th five-year plan’s goal of building a basic domestic food safety system by 2016. Su Zhi, a ministry official, has told Chinese language media tthe ministry is also working on two additional regulations limiting food contamination and pathogens.

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