China’s new requirements for imported food products

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The requirements for exporting food products to China are changing.

China has announced new food establishment registration and product labelling requirements for imported food products from 1 January 2022. The requirements apply to all countries, including Australia.

The Australian food regulation system is a strong system.

Our system is made up of laws, policies and standards that are based on scientific evidence and expertise, and protects the health and safety of consumers. The rigorous cooperative system provides a firm platform on which our food industries operate.

The new requirements may impact your food manufacturing, processing or storage business.

If you are currently exporting food products to China, you may need to register your business with China. Some businesses may be required to apply to the department for registration with China well in advance of the requirements coming into effect. Please read the below information carefully to ensure you understand your next steps.

We understand that you may have questions.

This page is designed to provide businesses with information about China’s new requirements, and to provide you an opportunity to ask questions about how they affect you.

About the new requirements

China has issued two decrees that set out the requirements:

  • Regulations on the Registration and Administration of Overseas Producers of Imported Food - Decree 248
  • Administrative Measures on Import and Export Food Safety - Decree 249

The new requirements cover the registration of overseas food manufacturing, processing, and storage businesses. They also set out labelling requirements. The requirements apply to a broad range of food products.

The new requirements come into effect on 1 January 2022. Businesses exporting to China may need to apply to be registered with China and ensure their labelling is compliant well in advance of the requirements coming into effect.

Registration and labelling requirements differ by commodity. More information about China’s import requirements for food can be found on the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (Micor).

What food business and storage facilities need to do

Department-recommended registration

If you only manufacture, process or store prescribed meat, dairy and seafood products, you do not need to complete any additional registration steps at this time. The existing application and registration processes remain in place. Please check Micor for additional information about labelling requirements.

If you manufacture, process or store food products listed below (Article 7 foods), a recommendation from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment or the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is required to facilitate registration with China:

  • casings
  • honey
  • edible fats and oils
  • stuffed pasta
  • edible grains and milled grain products including malt
  • fresh and dehydrated vegetables
  • dried beans
  • seasonings
  • nuts and seeds
  • dried fruits
  • unroasted coffee beans and cocoa beans
  • health foods
  • food for special dietary purposes.

The department and TGA submitted recommendations to China for registration of businesses with a history of trade in the above goods in advance of the 31 October 2021 deadline. The department and TGA have issued establishment numbers for recommended businesses.

If you manufacture, process or store Article 7 products but have not yet applied to the department or the TGA for recommendation to China, please refer to Market Access Advice notices for more information or alternatively contact exportlisting@awe.gov.au

China has not provided any assurances that recommendations submitted after 31 October 2021 will be accepted. As such, your business may encounter delays with registration and disruption to trade when China’s requirements come into effect on 1 January 2022.

Self-registration

If you manufacture, process or store other food products not listed above (Article 9 foods) you will need to self-register your business through China’s International Trade Single Window System. Prompt registration is encouraged to avoid delays or trade disruptions when the new requirements come into effect.

The China International Trade Single Window System is owned and operated by GACC, and the department has no control over the information submitted. You are encouraged to work closely with your importer and seek assistance from GACC to navigate the system.

Please note that the self-registration process may require a substantial amount of information and time to complete. You may be required to provide information that is not readily accessible.

There are some exceptions: please verify the information available for your commodity on Micor to establish whether you are required to self-register.

Labelling

Labelling requirements for some foods products have changed. Labelling requirements have been outlined in various Market Access Advices notices and Industry Advice Notices.

The department understands that GACC intends to enforce product labelling requirements for food produced on or after 1 January 2022.

The department recommends that you start applying your:

  • department-issued establishment number,
  • GACC-issued registration number, or
  • other recommended number as outlined in a Market Access Advice/Industry Advice notices,

to labels as soon as possible to reduce the risk of clearance delays after 1 January 2022.

More information

More information about the decrees can be found on the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (Micor).

Micor sets out the known requirements that exporters and the department must meet for products and commodities to be accepted for import into specific overseas countries.

Webinar

The Department of Agriculture, Water the Environment thanks industry representatives for participating in webinar sessions held on 22 October 2021 and 25 November 2021.

Recordings of the webinars are available here:

The department received over 200 questions throughout the two sessions and as such, it is not possible to respond to all questions received.

However, the department has developed an extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Detailed information on the new requirements can also be found in the relevant Market Access Advices (MAA) or Industry Advice Notices (IAN).

Correction to advice regarding eCommerce trade

The department would like to clarify information relating to products in eCommerce. Article 75 of Decree 249 states that the safety and oversight of import and export of food through mail, express delivery, cross-border eCommerce retail, or carried by travellers should be performed pursuant to the relevant GACC rules. As such, eCommerce is not affected by the new Chinese regulations.

Clarification to advice regarding bilingual (English/Chinese) language labelling requirements

At this stage, the department understands that the bilingual language (English/Chinese) labelling requirements have only been confirmed for exported meat and seafood products. There is no clear advice on whether these requirements apply to other exported food commodities, however Article 30 of Decree 249 states that packaging, labels and marks of imported food shall comply with Chinese laws and regulations and national food safety standards. China’s Food Safety Law stipulates that pre-packaged food must be labelled in Chinese.

Submit a question

We understand that many Australian food businesses have questions about how they can comply with China’s new requirements for imported food.

If your question is not answered in our frequently asked questions, please use the exporting to China query form to submit your question.

The requirements for exporting food products to China are changing.

China has announced new food establishment registration and product labelling requirements for imported food products from 1 January 2022. The requirements apply to all countries, including Australia.

The Australian food regulation system is a strong system.

Our system is made up of laws, policies and standards that are based on scientific evidence and expertise, and protects the health and safety of consumers. The rigorous cooperative system provides a firm platform on which our food industries operate.

The new requirements may impact your food manufacturing, processing or storage business.

If you are currently exporting food products to China, you may need to register your business with China. Some businesses may be required to apply to the department for registration with China well in advance of the requirements coming into effect. Please read the below information carefully to ensure you understand your next steps.

We understand that you may have questions.

This page is designed to provide businesses with information about China’s new requirements, and to provide you an opportunity to ask questions about how they affect you.

About the new requirements

China has issued two decrees that set out the requirements:

  • Regulations on the Registration and Administration of Overseas Producers of Imported Food - Decree 248
  • Administrative Measures on Import and Export Food Safety - Decree 249

The new requirements cover the registration of overseas food manufacturing, processing, and storage businesses. They also set out labelling requirements. The requirements apply to a broad range of food products.

The new requirements come into effect on 1 January 2022. Businesses exporting to China may need to apply to be registered with China and ensure their labelling is compliant well in advance of the requirements coming into effect.

Registration and labelling requirements differ by commodity. More information about China’s import requirements for food can be found on the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (Micor).

What food business and storage facilities need to do

Department-recommended registration

If you only manufacture, process or store prescribed meat, dairy and seafood products, you do not need to complete any additional registration steps at this time. The existing application and registration processes remain in place. Please check Micor for additional information about labelling requirements.

If you manufacture, process or store food products listed below (Article 7 foods), a recommendation from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment or the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is required to facilitate registration with China:

  • casings
  • honey
  • edible fats and oils
  • stuffed pasta
  • edible grains and milled grain products including malt
  • fresh and dehydrated vegetables
  • dried beans
  • seasonings
  • nuts and seeds
  • dried fruits
  • unroasted coffee beans and cocoa beans
  • health foods
  • food for special dietary purposes.

The department and TGA submitted recommendations to China for registration of businesses with a history of trade in the above goods in advance of the 31 October 2021 deadline. The department and TGA have issued establishment numbers for recommended businesses.

If you manufacture, process or store Article 7 products but have not yet applied to the department or the TGA for recommendation to China, please refer to Market Access Advice notices for more information or alternatively contact exportlisting@awe.gov.au

China has not provided any assurances that recommendations submitted after 31 October 2021 will be accepted. As such, your business may encounter delays with registration and disruption to trade when China’s requirements come into effect on 1 January 2022.

Self-registration

If you manufacture, process or store other food products not listed above (Article 9 foods) you will need to self-register your business through China’s International Trade Single Window System. Prompt registration is encouraged to avoid delays or trade disruptions when the new requirements come into effect.

The China International Trade Single Window System is owned and operated by GACC, and the department has no control over the information submitted. You are encouraged to work closely with your importer and seek assistance from GACC to navigate the system.

Please note that the self-registration process may require a substantial amount of information and time to complete. You may be required to provide information that is not readily accessible.

There are some exceptions: please verify the information available for your commodity on Micor to establish whether you are required to self-register.

Labelling

Labelling requirements for some foods products have changed. Labelling requirements have been outlined in various Market Access Advices notices and Industry Advice Notices.

The department understands that GACC intends to enforce product labelling requirements for food produced on or after 1 January 2022.

The department recommends that you start applying your:

  • department-issued establishment number,
  • GACC-issued registration number, or
  • other recommended number as outlined in a Market Access Advice/Industry Advice notices,

to labels as soon as possible to reduce the risk of clearance delays after 1 January 2022.

More information

More information about the decrees can be found on the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (Micor).

Micor sets out the known requirements that exporters and the department must meet for products and commodities to be accepted for import into specific overseas countries.

Webinar

The Department of Agriculture, Water the Environment thanks industry representatives for participating in webinar sessions held on 22 October 2021 and 25 November 2021.

Recordings of the webinars are available here:

The department received over 200 questions throughout the two sessions and as such, it is not possible to respond to all questions received.

However, the department has developed an extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Detailed information on the new requirements can also be found in the relevant Market Access Advices (MAA) or Industry Advice Notices (IAN).

Correction to advice regarding eCommerce trade

The department would like to clarify information relating to products in eCommerce. Article 75 of Decree 249 states that the safety and oversight of import and export of food through mail, express delivery, cross-border eCommerce retail, or carried by travellers should be performed pursuant to the relevant GACC rules. As such, eCommerce is not affected by the new Chinese regulations.

Clarification to advice regarding bilingual (English/Chinese) language labelling requirements

At this stage, the department understands that the bilingual language (English/Chinese) labelling requirements have only been confirmed for exported meat and seafood products. There is no clear advice on whether these requirements apply to other exported food commodities, however Article 30 of Decree 249 states that packaging, labels and marks of imported food shall comply with Chinese laws and regulations and national food safety standards. China’s Food Safety Law stipulates that pre-packaged food must be labelled in Chinese.

Submit a question

We understand that many Australian food businesses have questions about how they can comply with China’s new requirements for imported food.

If your question is not answered in our frequently asked questions, please use the exporting to China query form to submit your question.

  • Welcome. If your question is not already answered in our FAQ, we invite you to submit a question about China’s new requirements for imported food via this online submission form.

    Use this form to submit your question or upload your own document. If you are uploading a written submission on behalf of an organisation, you must use an official letterhead.

    Before you make a submission, make sure you have read the Micor page.

    Submit a question
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