China’s Overseas Food Facility Registration: Some Deadlines You Need to Know About
In the spring of 2021, China published the Chinese General Administration of Customs (GAC) Decree 248 – Regulations on Registration and Administration of Overseas Manufacturers of Imported Food,1 to impose new registration requirements on all foreign food companies (see more details in our prior CRM newsletters – Breaking News: China Imposes New Registration Requirements for All Foreign Food Companies). Although the enforcement date of January 1, 2022, is approaching, to date, no official guidelines have been released by GAC to detail the implementation.
In the meantime, it appears that some foreign governments (e.g., Singapore2 and Malaysia3) have provided instructions to local food companies on how to satisfy the food facility registration requirements in China. For instance, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), on October 5, 2021, published a notice,4 which stated that, if the producers of certain designated food categories (e.g., edible fats and oils, functional foods, egg products, condiments) have exported the products to China since January 1, 2017, they could be entitled to GAC’s fast-track registration if they can submit a declaration to SFA by October 31, 2021. Similar guidance is also set forth in the notice issued by the Malaysian food authority.
Thus, despite the absence of an official announcement from GAC, there appears to be a window of opportunity that may only last until October 31, 2021, for food companies to take advantage of a fast-track registration process. Accordingly, an overseas food company may want to reach out to the local responsible food authority to see if there is an opportunity to utilize the fast-track registration process in their home country.
It is worth noting that GAC Decree 249 – Administrative Measures on Import and Export Food Safety5 will also take effect on January 1, 2022, under which new requirements governing the inspection and evaluation of imported foods are imposed. If you are interested in more details of China’s regulatory requirements for imported foods, please do not hesitate to contact David Ettinger (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jenny Li (email@example.com), Yin Dai (firstname.lastname@example.org), or your existing contact at Keller and Heckman LLP.