China launches compulsory registration platform for overseas food manufacturers to boost food security

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The platform was launched as part of China’s state-owned international trade one-stop-shop service and has been dubbed the Registration of Food Import Companies in Chinaplatform. Its publication predates the upcoming application by local customs of the “administrative provisions on the registration of foreign manufacturers of imported food”, which will take place in January 2022.

“All overseas food manufacturers are reminded that the new regulations will come into effect immediately on January 1, 2022, with no further grace period granted. This will apply to all food products manufactured abroad, excluding additives or contact materials ”,The General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) said in a statement.

“[We advise] all parties concerned to hurry to complete the necessary registration on time via the online platform. Please also note that there are 18 food categories which will require a prior recommendation from the competent authority of the exporting countries with clear documentation.

“The objective of the new regulations [and] the new platform aims to strengthen our management of imported food products manufactured abroad [before these enter] across our borders, as well as ensuring that food security is [maintained] in accordance with the standards required by China.

The 18 categories mentioned above include meat and related products, seafood and related products, dairy products, bird nests and related products, bee products, eggs and related products, edible oils and fats, grains, flour and malt products, processed vegetables and beans, seasonings, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, unroasted coffee beans and cocoa beans and more.

All of these will require additional recommendation documents from the food safety authority of the exporting country e.g. Food Standards Australia New Zealand [FSANZ] for companies in Australia or New Zealand or Food Safety and Standards Authority India [FSSAI] for businesses in India.

Companies manufacturing products in other categories that do not fall under this list, such as soft drinks, confectionery, snacks not prepared from ingredients requiring authorization, etc. will be able to register directly via the Registration of Food Import Companies in Chinaplatform without the need to obtain prior authorization from the regulators concerned.

Anyway, all registrations will be closely scrutinized by China before approval, after which a registration number will be assigned to the exporting company.

“Registered food manufacturers will be given a Chinese registration number, which must be displayed on both the inner and outer packaging (bulk packs and individual packs) of products exported to China.”added the GACC.

“GACC encourages all companies to include the Chinese registration number provided to them on their packaging in the long term. [in order to prevent any custom clearance issues].

“Foreign companies can also appoint local agents to handle this registration to avoid language issues, but will need to provide proof that they have given them a power of attorney to do so and must also inform the GACC if this is changed or revoked. “

Food security in China

China’s implementation of regulations governing the food safety of inbound food and beverage imports has only become more stringent since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region, as one of the only countries in the world to have implemented COVID-19 tests on food imports.

Fresh food in particular received special attention last year after the country saw an outbreak linked to salmon found in a market, and many fresh food companies exporting to China issued statements. letters promising “no COVID-19 contamination” to be signed or risk being refused entry.

While not formally linked to concerns over COVID-19, this new platform appears to be the culmination or final version of all the additional steps China has taken so far to ensure food security. local, because by registering on the platform, a foreign manufacturer gives permission to the country to conduct some sort of “investigation” into various aspects of its business before being allowed to export there at all.

“GACC will personally or through a competent organization set up an audit team to verify each record and perform checks via methods such as video inspections, documentation inspections, possible on-site inspections and more to assess and analyze in depth the activities of the manufacturer concerned. [and production] environment,”the GACC said.

“Each audit team will include at least two auditors, [and] the foreign manufacturer and the local supervisory authority should cooperate and assist in such investigations. “


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