Within this, the Chinese government is looking to strengthen and create new requirements for both domestic producers and overseas companies looking to export in to China.
Throughout the consultation process, the UK has been engaged in conversation with the authorities in China directly and also through the European Union. For the most part, the UK Government has looked to calm worries as we already adhere to strong food safety regulations. When new requirements come in, they have assured all producers that they will be aligned with international standards so it therefore shouldn’t be a burden.
Currently, the UKFDEA are working with DEFRA, and information will be made available as soon as decisions are made. Furthermore, the CBBC are offering various webinars and seminars in order to spread the word of the new requirements and what it means for UK business. Moving forward, companies have been strongly advised to work with their importers/agents to ensure a smooth transition.
Will You Need An Export Health Certificate (EHC)? – Currently, an EHC, signed by an official veterinarian (OV) is required for fresh products such as dairy, meat and fish, but the Chinese Government plans to expand this somewhat. If these plans go ahead, ambient products may be included too such as alcohol, snacks and packaged goods. At the moment, it is believed that existing EHCs will remain in place for those products currently needing an EHC anyway.
Will an Audit Take Place at Your Premises? – Among others, this has been a huge concern and the new Food Safety Law does suggest that all Chinese importers are to take responsibility for their own audit system. However, there are no details as of yet regarding what the system should look like or whether the importer will need to visit the site.
Pig Meat – frozen meat as long as it is UK-born and free from certain disease. Processed products and viscera are excluded. As well as requiring an import permit, the establishment needs to be approved for Chinese export. Furthermore, there needs to be full health confirmation from the slaughterhouse OV.
Dairy – including milk, yogurt and infant formula, all milk products must originate from within the UK, In addition to the confirmation of the heat treatment and processing, they should also carry an oval health mark. To export to China, the establishment needs to appear on the CNCA-approved list.
Hides – Currently, hides are on this list along with products from sheep or cow origin such as skins, hair, and even wool.
Fish and Fish Products – both raw and processed. The production plants must be China approved.
Conclusion – As you can see, there could be some big changes afoot but the details are still a little vague. As long as you are prepared for changes and ready to adapt, there shouldn’t be a need for complete disruption. We will of course make our views known and keep you up to date with any news.
China is one of the UK Government’s key target markets to grow exports over the next few years as part of its food-drink-export-action-plan-2016-2020 so we hope this will continue to be the case.