China’s new rule requiring registration for all food imports is causing confusion among food processors who want to ship there.
The new regulations, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, require that all processing and storage facilities involved in the production of food destined for China must be registered with the Chinese government. In the case of so-called “high-risk” products, the registration must be done by the food authority of the nation where the product originates.
Food & beverage processors who export to China are complaining that the procedures for getting the registration codes are unclear, and that they weren’t issued until October, while a self-registration website for “low-risk” products came online only last month. It’s also unclear whether the Chinese registration codes will have to be part of a product’s labeling. In addition, they say that some of the “high-risk” categories includes foods, like coffee beans and cooking oil, that aren’t really high risk at all.
"We're heading for major disruptions after Jan. 1," a Beijing-based European diplomat told Reuters.
China is now the world’s sixth largest importer of food, according to Reuters.