China plans to put in place newly revised food safety regulations this December. Sun Meijun, Deputy Director of the State Administration for Market Regulation, said at a news briefing on the 12th that these regulations will strengthen the risk control measures for imported foods and increase the obligations of importers, further strengthen the control of food sources and prevent substandard food from entering the market.
These new regulations also stipulate that in the cases that a food safety incident outside China may affect the country, or if serious food safety issues are discovered during port inspection and quarantine, the entry-exit inspection and quarantine department shall promptly carry out pre-emptive risk warnings and take measures such as returning or destroying goods, or prohibiting imports. Importers may need to import certain foods to designated ports when the need for risk management calls for this measure.
Over recent years, with the consumption upgrading, the market of imported food and produce in China has grown rapidly. Statistics from the country show that the growth rate of its fruit, aquatic products, and pork imports in the first three quarters stood around 40%. As the market scale expands, imported foods have also presented security concerns.
Official data show that during the first five months of this year, China's food and produce imports mainly came from South America, Asia, and Europe. Brazil, Chile, and Argentina are China's most important sources of food and produce imports in South America. The country imports the most produce from Thailand in Asia, reaching US$3.17 billion in the first five months of this year, followed by Indonesia with US$2.16 billion. From Europe, China imports food mainly from France, Russia, and the Netherlands.