On October 29, 2015, AQSIQ (China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine) released white paper on “2010-2014 China imported food quality safety conditions”. The paper presents the statistics related to the import of food products into China. It also gives the main reasons for non-compliances detected in imported products.
Over the last several years, Chinese government has been putting emphasis on food safety, by introducing stricter rules in different areas, including a new food safety law, and a comprehensive list of food safety standards.
What is China importing?
According to the statistics from AQSIQ, 2010-2014, China imported food from 213 countries and regions.
Imported food trade value top 10 are: ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the European Union, the United States, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Russia, Australia, Argentina, and South Korea. The total trade value of trade with these countries reached $172.77 billion, accounting for 84.3% of the total amount of China's imported food trade value.
Categories of imported food included various types of high quality and low price food, fats and oil, aquatic products, dairy products, meat, sugar, grains, beverages, dry nuts and canned foods are the main categories of imported food. These imported goods were valued to $192.14 billion, accounting for 93.8% of the total amount of China's imported food trade value.
According to the statistics from AQSIQ, 2010-2014, non-compliances with Chinese national food safety legislation and standards were found in almost all categories of imported foods.
The top 10 foods with detected non-compliances included: cakes and pastry, beverage, grain and its products, dairy products, wine, sugar, spices, seafood, dry nuts and special food, taking over 85.1% of the total batch of food classified as non-compliant.
The unqualified imported food is due to 18 kinds of reasons, the top 10 being: microbial contamination, not satisfactory quality, unauthorized food additives, unfit label, contaminants exceeding regulatory limits, unsuitable packaging, non-compliant goods and certification, non-edible ingredients, lack of quarantine access. These non-compliance account for over 95.7% of the total of non-compliant imported food batches.
AQSIQ has issued an appeal to the consumers, urging them to buy imported food items only through formal channels.
AQSIQ has reminded of three methods that help customers purchase legal imported food fulfilling food safety requirements. Legally imported food has to bear a label on food product in Chinese and inspection and quarantine certificate issued by authority needs to be visible. Lastly it is advisable to check whether the food product has been approved for import. This can be done by logging to website of AQSIQ and verifying the manufacturer information.
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