Interpretation | Administrative Measures on import and Export Food Safety

On April 13, 2021, the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) issued No. 249 Order, which is “The Administrative Measures on import and Export Food Safety” (hereinafter referred to as Measures) and will be implemented on January 1, 2022. The “Measures” intends to make provisions on the general requirements of Chinese import and export food safety supervision, food import and export management, and corresponding measures and legal liabilities. Foodmate combined with the “Measures” to interpret the possible changes in Chinese future imported food supervision.

1. Introduce the concept of "conformity assessment" and clarify the regulatory measures covered by conformity assessment

According to Article 10 of the “Measures”, the customs shall conduct conformity assessment on imported foods in accordance with the provisions of relevant laws and regulations on the inspection of import and export commodities. Moreover, the article stipulates the items that should be mainly included in the conformity assessment activities of imported food. As early as 2016, the former General Administration of Quality Supervision, which is now known as State Administration of Market Regulation, issued a manual on conformity assessment of imported food, but it was not publicly released. The “Measures” clarifies the conformity assessment in the form of regulations and integrates the relevant provisions of 21 systems in 3 major links of imported food supervision, which can further scientifically standardize the supervision of imported food.

2. Clarify the content and methods of the examination and evaluation of food safety supervision systems of foreign countries

Articles 12 to 17 of the “Measures” respectively stipulate the conditions, contents, examination methods, materials and application of the examination and evaluation of foreign countries by the GACC. Comparing with the previous "Measures", which only stipulated the requirements of foreign countries, further refinement has been made in the new version. This will give food safety regulatory agencies an important reference in countries and regions that intend to export food to China. Agencies can evaluate the feasibility of exporting food to China against these assessments. Furthermore, the “Measures” also serves as a reference for import food companies and overseas export food companies, especially when there are major animal and plant epidemics and major food safety issues in the country, it can help companies understand the content and procedures of the GACC’s examination and evaluation work.

3. Clarify that the GACC can formulate and implement a video inspection plan

Articles 14 and 16 of the "Measures" stipulate that the GACC can formulate and implement a video inspection plan, and make provisions on the content, method and application of video inspection. This flexible inspection method is a great convenience to the supervision of imported food brought by the development of Internet technology. In addition, since the outbreak of COVID-19 in China in 2020, the epidemic situation in various countries is also spreading. According to the principles and procedures of scientific regulations, Using video to examine and evaluate the authenticity of materials, the effectiveness of the food safety management system and the status of food safety, can greatly improve inspection efficiency, reduce inspection costs and reduce unnecessary risks.

4. Clarify that the labels of imported health foods and special dietary foods shall not be affixed

Article 30 of the "Measures" stipulates that the Chinese labels of imported health foods and special dietary foods must be printed on the smallest sales package, and shall not be affixed.

5. Refine the suspension and prohibition of import systems for foreign food exported to China has been refined.

The "Measures" stipulate that GACC may take control measures such as suspension or prohibition of imported foods based on the results of the risk assessment. Article 35 and Article 36 stipulate the conditions for prohibiting and restricting imports and the conditions for lifting them, which are more detailed than the provisions in the previous version. Compared with the "Draft" issued last year, the "Measures" have deleted common international regulatory measures for imported food with safety risks, such as strengthened inspection, automatic detention, and refusal to enter the country.

In addition, the pre-inspection system for imported food proposed in last year's "Draft" was also deleted in the "Measures."

Foodmate plan to organize an online seminar about the interpretation of new regulations on April 26. We will invite experts working for GACC to discuss the trends of import and export food in China and give food manufacturers some suggestions. Details of the seminar are showed in the picture.


Please note: Original English article of Business Division of Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance of Global Foodmate, please indicate the source from the Global Foodmate if reprint.

Business Division of Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance of Global Foodmate provides food standards & regulations research, labelling compliance consulting/Chinese label design, industry public opinion monitoring and analysis, registration services (of Infant formula, FSMP, Health food, Novel Food Ingredients, Novel Food Additives, New Varieties of Food-Related Products and Overseas manufacturers of imported food) and other comprehensive food safety solutions for domestic and overseas enterprises and institutions in food industry. 

Please feel free to contact us: +86 10 68869850, E-mail: global_info@foodmate.net

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