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Food exports by AQSIQ

25 April 2009 883 views No Comment

Foreign food producers who want to sell their products to China might have to register with China’s inspection and quarantine authorities every four years, according to a new draft rule released yesterday to solicit public opinion.

The food safety law, to take effect on June 1, requires all foreign food exporters to register with General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) to ensure their products are safe.

The draft implementation rule of the law, released on the website of the State Council Legislative Affairs Office (http://www.chinalaw.gov.cn/), states such registration is valid for four years.

If products cause any major food safety incidents, or companies are found offering fake materials, their registration will be revoked, the draft rule says.

Currently, only foreign meat products manufacturers need to register, without requiring renewals, with China’s quarantine authorities, according to rules and regulations from the AQSIQ.

Li Chunfeng, deputy director of the AQSIQ’s import-and-export food bureau, confirmed the proposed change, without offering details.

Under current rules, foreign food exporters must offer at least five categories of documents to get registered, including evaluation reports from their local governments and detailed information on the production process.

In addition, the draft rule also stipulates that importers of foreign food products, on which China has no safety standards, will have to get a safety certificate from China’s Ministry of Health (MOH) before entering China.

Dairy giant Mengniu Group got into trouble in February after an imported additive OMP, not approved by the health departments, was found in their product. OMP is suspected of causing cancer.

The State Council Legislative Affairs Office said drafting of the 57-article rule is meant to ensure implementation of the food safety law, and the rule is expected to take effect together with the law.

Since last year’s melamine scandal, in which at least six babies died and about 300,000 other children fell ill, food safety draws much public attention.

The central government as well as the legislature beefed up efforts to ensure safer food for the people.

Figures released yesterday by the Ministry of Health show that a special campaign against illegal food additives started last December uncovered 5,832 relevant cases and seized unsafe food products worth 17.9 million yuan ($2.6 million). Twenty-one people have been arrested.

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