China's Inspection and Quarantine on Food Exported from Foreign Countries

Release time:2016-08-08 11:10
The demand for foreign food in China has not been fully explored as to many foreign food producers, while the issue is how to export food to China. The inspection and quarantine procedure in China is governed by the Inspection and Quarantine Institute of Exportation and Importation, and that procedure could be the most complicated task to many foreign exporters. It is even suggested that foreign exporters are necessary to tackle the inspection and quarantine issue even before signing a contract with Chinese importers so as to avoid delay of customs application and customs clearance. In a recent case of exporting Russian food to China, the time of customs clearance was delayed for around four months due to the loosely prepared documents for inspection and quarantine application, and the delay caused disputes between the Russian exporter and the Chinese importer.
As to the food exported to China for the first time, preparations of inspection and quarantine before signing trading contract include:
1. Filing the labels of the food intended for exportation. The application is usually made by Chinese importers to the relevant Inspection and Quarantine Institute of Exportation and Importation while exporters are responsible for providing some documents such as the document which shows the nutrition composition of the food.
2. Registering the basic information of foreign exporters with the General Administration of Inspection and Quarantine. The application could be conducted online which usually takes five working days for the authority to proceed. If the exportation is related to meat, seafood, dairy product and product of bird nest, foreign companies of manufacturing, producing and storing also need to register with the authority of China. It is for the relevant authority of a foreign country to recommend to the Committee of Certification and Accreditation for that registration with the application materials attached. Once the registration is accepted a certificate valid for four years would be issued to the applicant.

When the preparations above are finished, it would be followed by the application of inspection and quarantine which includes sanitary quarantine, food inspection, commodity inspection and quarantine of animal and plant. Those inspection and quarantine are mandatory for all food exported to China and each type focuses on different aspects of food security.
The inspection and quarantine application is usually made by Chinese importers or their agencies with some documents provided by foreign exporters. For example, when applying for food inspection, an official quarantine certificate from the relevant foreign authority should be submitted to China's the Inspection and Quarantine Institute of Exportation and Importation.
As the standards of food security adopted by Chinese government comply with the structure, principles and scientific basis of the international food code, it would not be too difficult to pass China's inspection and quarantine provided the food exported to China could meet the requirement on food security in foreign countries which are expected to uphold the international standards. It is highly predictable that there would be more common for foreign food to appear in China's market.