News & Information

We are a young and creative company, we provide cosmetics compliance services for your team and company.
bt_bb_section_bottom_section_coverage_image

FeatureLatest NewsQuality & SafetyRegulations24/11/2022Measures on Food Imported into China

To protect the life and health of consumers, all food products imported into the Chinese market shall comply with the measures laid down by the government, which cover the very base of the food chain to the ways the food is advertised. This article is an excerpt of measures on imported food from The Measures of the Peoples Republic of China for the Administration of Import and Export Food Safety, which was released by the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China.

Chapter I General Provisions

Article 1 For the purposes of ensuring the safety of import and export food and protecting the life and health of human beings, animals, and plants, these Measures are formulated in accordance with such laws and administrative rules or regulations as the Food Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the Food Safety Law) and its implementation regulations, the Customs Law of the People’s Republic of China, the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Import and Export Commodity Inspection and its implementation regulations, the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Entry and Exit Animal and Plant Quarantine and its implementation regulations, the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law of the People’s Republic of China and its implementation details, the Agricultural Product Quality Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China, the Special Rules of the State Council on Strengthening the Supervision and Management of the Safety of Food and Other Products.

Article 2 The following activities shall be conducted in compliance with these Measures:

(I) Import and export food production and operation

(II) The Customs Administration shall implement supervision and administration on import and export food producers and operators and the safety of their import and export

The production and operation activities of import and export food additives and food-related products shall be subject to the relevant rules of the General Administration of Customs.

Article 3 Regarding the safety of import and export food, the principles of safety first, prevention crucial, risk management, whole process control, and international co-governance shall be followed.

Article 4 Import and export food producers and operators shall be responsible for the safety of the import and export food they produce and manage.

Import and export food producers and operators shall undertake import and export food production and operation activities in accordance with any international treaty or agreement entered into or acceded to by China and the laws, regulations, and national food safety standards of China, accept supervision and administration in accordance with the law, ensure the import and export food safety, be responsible for the society and the public, and assume social responsibility.

Article 5 The General Administration of Customs shall take principal charge of supervision and administration of import and export food safety throughout the country.

The Customs Administrations at all levels shall be responsible for the supervision and administration of import and export food safety within their respective jurisdictions.

Article 6 The Customs Administration shall use informatization technology to update the supervision and administration level of import and export food safety.

Article 7 The Customs Administration shall step up publicity and education about import and export food safety, and disseminate food safety laws, administrative regulations, and national standards and knowledge on food safety.

The Customs Administration shall strengthen exchanges and cooperation with international food safety organizations, overseas government agencies, overseas food industry associations, and overseas consumer associations, among others, to create an international co-governance pattern for import and export food safety.

Article 8 The Customs Administration personnel engaged in the supervision and administration of import and export food safety shall possess relevant professional knowledge.

 

Chapter II Food Import

Article 9 Imported food shall comply with the laws, regulations, and national food safety standards of China and the special requirements of any international treaty or agreement entered into or acceded to by China.

The imported food, for which the national food safety standards are unavailable, shall comply with the requirements of the relevant interim applicable standards promulgated by the health authority of the State Council.

For food produced with new food raw materials, a health administrative permit for new food raw materials shall be obtained from the health authority of the State Council in accordance with provisions specified in Article 37 of the Food Safety Law.

Article 10 The Customs Administration shall implement conformity assessment on imported food in accordance with the laws and administrative regulations on the inspection of import and export goods.

Import food conformity assessment activities include the assessment and examination of the food safety management system of a foreign country (region) exporting food to China (hereinafter simply referred to as a foreign country (region)), the registration of an overseas production enterprise, the importer and exporter record and conformity guarantee, the quarantine approval of imported animals and plants, the inspection of an accompanying certificate of conformity, the verification of documentation, on-site inspection, supervisory sampling inspection, the inspection of import and sales records, and a combination of all the miscellaneous items.

Article 11 The General Administration of Customs may assess and examine the food safety management system and food safety status of a foreign country (region), and determine corresponding inspection and quarantine requirements based on the results of the assessment and examination.

Article 12 Under any of the following circumstances, the General  Administration  of  Customs may initiate an assessment and examination of a foreign country (region):

(I) A foreign country (region) applies for the export of a class or kind of food to China for the first time;

(II) A significant adjustment occurs to the food safety, animal and plant quarantine laws and regulations, or organizational structure, among others, of the foreign country(region);

(III) A significant adjustment occurs to the inspection and quarantine requirements for  certain classes or kinds of food applied for by the competent authority of a foreign country (region) with China as its destination;

(IV) A significant outbreak of animal or plant diseases or food safety incidents occurs in a foreign country(region);

(V) The Customs Administration discovers a serious problem in the food imported to China and holds that there is an outbreak of animal or plant diseases or a potential food safety risk;

(VI) Other circumstances necessary for an assessment and

Article 13 An assessment and examination of the food safety management system of a  foreign country (region) shall mainly include the assessment and confirmation of the followings:

(I) Laws and regulations related to food safety and animal and plant quarantine;

(II) The organizational structure for supervision and administration of food safety;

(III) The prevailing animal or plant diseases and prevention and control measures;

(IV) The management and control of pathogenic microorganisms, pesticides, veterinary drugs, and contaminants, among others;

(V) Safety and health control in the procedures of food production, processing, transportation, and warehousing;

(VI) Supervision and administration on export food safety;

(VII) Food safety protection, traceability, and recall system;

(VIII) Early warning and emergency response mechanism;

(IX) Technical support capabilities;

(X) Others relating to the prevailing animal or plant diseases and food safety;

Article 14 The General Administration of Customs may arrange for experts to conduct an assessment and examination in the form of material examinations, video inspection, and on-site inspection, among others, or in such a combination.

Article 15    The General Administration of Customs shall arrange for experts to examine the application materials, written assessment questionnaires, and other materials submitted by a country (region) subject to assessment and examination, and the examination involved covers the materials’ authenticity, completeness and validity. Based on the examination of materials, the General Administration of Customs may require the competent authority of the relevant country (region) to provide the missing information or documents.

If a country (region) has passed the examination of materials, the General Administration of Customs may arrange for experts to conduct a video inspection or an on-site inspection of its food safety management system. The competent authority of the relevant country (region) and relevant enterprises may be required to take corrective actions on any problems discovered.

The relevant country (region) shall provide necessary assistance for assessment and examination.

Article 16    Where a country (region) subject to assessment and examination falls under any of the following circumstances, the General Administration of Customs may terminate the assessment and examination, and notify the competent authority of the relevant country (region):

(I) Failing to provide feedback within 12 months of receiving the written assessment questionnaire;

(II) Failing to provide supplemented information and materials as required within three months after receiving a notice from the General Administration of Customs;

(III) A sudden significant outbreak of animal or plant disease or a serious food safety incident;

(IV) Failing to cooperate with the Chinese side in completing a video inspection or on-site inspection, or failing to effectively complete corrective actions;

(V) Voluntarily applying for termination of the assessment and

Under any circumstances in subparagraphs (I) and (II) of the preceding paragraph, the competent authority of the relevant country (region), on account of a special reason, may apply for a deferral, and, upon consent by the General Administration of Customs, submit the relevant materials within a period determined anew by the General Administration of Customs.

Article 17   After completion of an assessment and examination, the General Administration of Customs shall notify the competent authority of a country (region) subject to assessment and examination of the assessment and examination results.

Article 18 The General Administration of  Customs shall exercise registration administration on overseas production enterprises that export food to China, and promulgate a name list of enterprises that have been registered.

Article 19    An overseas exporter or agent that exports food to China (hereinafter referred to as the “overseas exporter or agent”) shall make a filing with the General Administration of Customs.

A food importer shall make a filing with the Customs Administration in the place of his or her domicile.

An overseas exporter or agent, or food importer shall be responsible for the truthfulness and validity of the materials provided when making a filing.

A list of overseas exporters or agents and food importers that have made a filing shall be published by the General Administration of Customs.

Article 20  Where there is a change in the content of the filing,  the overseas exporter or agent, or food importer shall process the modification formalities with the filing authorities within 60 days from the change date.

Where the information filed by an overseas exporter or agent, or a food importer is found to be erroneous, or the content of his or her filing fails to be modified in a timely manner, the Customs Administration may order him or her to make corrections within a specified period.

Article 21 A food importer shall establish a food import and sales record system, truthfully record the name, net content/specification, quantity, production date, production or import lot number, shelf life, the name, address, and contact information of the overseas exporter or purchaser, delivery date, and other information on food, and keep relevant documents. The records and documents shall be kept for not less than six months after the expiration of the shelf life of food, or for not less than two years after the sale in the absence of such shelf life.

Article 22 A food importer shall establish an overseas exporters and overseas production enterprises audit system with a focus on examining the following:

(I) Formulation and implementation of food safety risk control measures;

(II) Ensure that the food complies with the laws, regulations, and national food safety standards of China;

Article 23 The Customs Administration shall conduct supervisory inspections on the examination activities conducted by food importers in accordance with the law. A food importer shall actively cooperate and truthfully provide relevant information and materials.

Article 24  The Customs Administration may, as needed for risk management, designate a  port for the import and a supervision zone for inspection with respect to import food. A list of designated ports and designated supervision zones shall be promulgated by the General Administration of Customs.

Article 25 A food importer or his or her agent shall, in accordance with the law, truthfully make a declaration to the Customs Administration when importing food.

Article 26 The Customs Administration shall, in accordance with the law, implement quarantine inspection on the imported food subject to entry quarantine.

Article 27 The Customs Administration shall, in accordance with the law,  exercise quarantine approval management of the imported food subject to imported animal and plant quarantine approval. A food importer shall obtain an imported animal and plant quarantine permit before signing a trade contract or agreement.

Article 28 The Customs Administration  shall,  as  needed  for  supervision  and administration, conduct an on-site inspection of the imported food, which includes but is not limited to the following:

(I) Whether the means of transportation and storage areas meet the safety and health requirements;

(II) Whether the container number, seal identification number, the content of the marks on the inner and outer packaging, and the actual condition of the goods are consistent with the declared information and accompanying documentation;

(III) Whether the food of animal and plant origin, packaging, and dunnage materials fall under the circumstances specified in Article 22 of the Regulations on the Implementation of the Law on Quarantining Imported and Exported Animals and Plants;

(IV) Whether inner and outer packaging complies with the national food safety standards, and whether contamination, damage, soak, or leakage exists;

(V) Whether the labels, marks, and instructions on inner and outer packaging meet the requirements of laws, administrative regulations, national food safety standards, and the rules of the General Administration of Customs;

(VI) Whether the perceivable status of food is in its expected condition;

(VII) Whether the freshness and core temperature of frozen and refrigerated food meet the requirements, whether there is a disease, whether the temperature of the freezing and refrigeration environment meets the requirements of relevant standards, whether the cold chain temperature control equipment and facility function normally, and whether temperature records meet the requirements. A steaming and cooking test may be conducted when

Article 29  The Customs Administration shall formulate an annual national import food safety supervisory sampling inspection and a special import food safety supervisory sampling inspection plan and organize their implementation.

Article 30 The packaging, labels, and marks of imported food shall comply with the laws, regulations, and national food safety standards of China, and shall be accompanied by an instruction manual in Chinese if the law so requires.

For an imported cold fresh meat product, its inner and outer packaging shall bear a secure, clear, and legible written identification in both Chinese and English, or in Chinese and the language of the export country (region), indicating the following: country or region of origin, name of the product, registration number of the production enterprise, and production lot number; and the outer packaging shall bear the specifications, place of origin (specific to the state, province, or city), place of destination, production date, shelf life, storage temperature, and other information in Chinese, and must indicate that the place of destination is the People’s Republic of China, and carry the official inspection and quarantine mark of the export country (region).

For an imported aquatic product, its inner and outer packaging shall bear a secure, clear, and legible written identification in both Chinese and English, or in Chinese and the language of the export country (region), indicating the following: name of the goods and scientific name, specifications, production date, lot number, shelf life, and storage conditions, production method (seawater fishing, freshwater fishing, or aquaculture), production area (sea area in the case of ocean fishing, country (region) in the case of freshwater fishing, or country (region) where the aquaculture product originates), the name, registration number, and address (specific to the state, province, or city) of each production or processing enterprise involved (including a fishing vessel, processing vessel, transport vessel, or an independent cold store), and the place of destination must be indicated as the People’s Republic of China.

The label of an imported dietary supplement or food for special dietary use in Chinese must be printed on the smallest sales package, and shall not be affixed thereto.

The relevant provisions or stipulations shall be followed if there are any special .labelling stipulations for the inner and outer packaging of imported food.

Article 31 Import food, after delivery to a port, should be stored in the places designated or approved by the Customs Administration. Permission must be obtained from the Customs Administration if such food needs moving, and necessary safety protection measures shall be taken according to the requirements of the Customs Administration.

The places designated or approved should comply with the requirements stipulated in laws, administrative regulations, and national food safety standards.

Article 32 Import food in bulk should be inspected at the port of discharge according to the requirements of the Customs Administration.

Article 33 Import food shall be permitted to import upon passing the conformity assessment by the Customs Administration.

The Customs Administration shall issue a certificate of non-conformity for the imported food failing the conformity assessment by the Customs Administration; for the foods of non-conformity involving safety, health, and environmental protection, the Customs Administration shall send a written notice to a food importer and order him or her to destruct or return the food involved. For non-conformity of other items, the food shall be permitted to import after having met the requirements stipulated in the conformity assessment by means of technical treatment. For the corresponding import food that fails such technical treatment within a prescribed time period or still fails to meet the relevant requirements after the technical treatment, the Customs Administration shall order the food importer to destruct or return the food involved.

Article 34 In case of any foods with potential safety hazards within the territory of China caused by food safety incidents in foreign countries, or the imported food found to be disqualified during the food supervision and management by the Customs Administration, or other issues related to food safety discovered, General Administration of Customs and its authorized Customs directly under the General Administration, may, based on the results of risk assessment, take such control measures as increasing the proportion for supervision and sampling inspection on the relevant import food.

For the imported food found to be non-conforming again by the Customs Administration after taking such control measures as increasing the proportion for supervision and sampling inspection on the relevant import food as prescribed above, or certain evidence showing the significant potential safety hazard in the imported food, General Administration of Customs and its authorized Customs directly under the General Administration, may request the food importer to provide, by batches, the Customs Administration with inspection reports issued by the accredited test agency. The Customs Administration should verify such inspection reports submitted by the food importer.

Article 35 General Administration of Customs may, based  on  the  results  of  risk  assessment, adopt such control measures as suspending or prohibiting the import of relevant food in any of the following cases:

(I) Exporting country (region) is subject to a significant epidemic in flora and fauna, or to a significant change in the food safety system, which affects its capability to effectively guarantee the safety of food exported to China;

(II) Imported food is contaminated by pathogens of epidemic or evidenced to be capable of becoming the media of spreading such epidemics, with no possibility of taking effective sanitary treatment;

(III) The imported food for which the control measures specified in the second paragraph of Article 34 in these Measures have been implemented by the Customs Administration is discovered again to be non-conforming in such aspects as safety, health, and environmental protection;

(IV) Foreign food producers are in serious violation of Chinese laws and regulations;

(V) Other information shows the significant potential safety hazards in relevant

Article 36 When the import food safety risks have been lowered to a controllable level, General Administration of Customs and its authorized Customs directly under the General Administration, may lift the corresponding control measures in the following ways:

(I) For the food with control measures taken according to the first paragraph of Article 34 of these Measures and for which no more non-conformity is found within a prescribed time period and in relevant batches, the control measures may be lifted on the basis of risk assessment;

(II) For the food with control measures taken according to the second paragraph of Article 34 of these Measures, for which the exporting country (region) has already taken preventive measures and is capable of ensuring food safety and controlling the risks in epidemics in flora and fauna after the risk assessment by General Administration of Customs, or no more non-conformity is found within a prescribed time period and in relevant batches from the date of the relevant control measures taken, the Customs Administration may lift the control measures on the basis of risk assessment;

(III) For the food under control measures suspended or prohibited from import, for which the competent authorities in the exporting country (region) have already taken risk control measures and have met the requirements after assessment by the General Administration of Customs, such measures of suspending or prohibiting the import may be lifted. For the food permitted to be imported again, the General Administration of Customs may, based on the results of the assessment, take the control measures prescribed in Article 34 of these

Article 37 Upon discovering that the imported food fails to comply with laws, administrative regulations, and national food safety standards, or there is evidence proving that the imported food poses potential hazards to human health, food importers should, based on Article 63 and the third paragraph of Article 94 of the Food Safety Law, immediately suspend the import, sales, and use, implement a recall, give notice to relevant food producers, operators, and consumers, record the processes of recall and notice, and file a report to the local Customs Administration about such recall, notice and response.