On April 13, 2021, the General Administration of Customs issued Order No. 249, promulgating the”Measures for the Administration of Import and Export Food Safety of the People’s Republic of China” (hereinafter referred to as the”Measures”), which will be implemented on January 1, 2022. The”Measures” stipulate the general requirements of my country’s import and export food safety supervision, food import and food export management, and corresponding supervision and management measures and legal responsibilities. After studying the content of the”Measures”, FoodPartner.com found that according to the provisions of the Measures, for food imports, the”Measures” further strengthen and clarify the responsibilities of overseas food production companies and domestic food importers for imported food safety compliance. As for the customs, the”Measures” further clarify its supervisory responsibilities as an imported food safety supervisory authority. This change is to further implement the requirements of”simplification of administration and decentralization”, which is conducive to the rational allocation of national administrative resources and maximizes the effectiveness of supervision. At the same time, it can further enhance the food safety and compliance awareness of overseas food manufacturers and domestic food importers. , To further ensure the safety of imported food. The following is an interpretation of the main responsibility of my country’s food importers in conjunction with the”Measures”.
1. [Keep] the obligation to file with the customs of the place of residence.
The filing of foreign exporters and agents of imported food and domestic importers is my country’s constant requirement for imported food supervision. The revised”Measures” still require food importers to file with their domicile. Although relative to the old version of the”Measures”, the specific provisions on the content of the materials that need to be submitted have been deleted, but the requirements for the authenticity and validity of the filing materials have not changed. Enterprises that want to carry out food import business still need to submit their real information objectively and completely to the customs of their place of residence for the record. In addition, the”Measures” clarify that when there is a change in the content of the record, it shall go through the change formalities with the record authority within 60 days from the date of the change.
2, [Detailed] Obligation to truthfully record food import and sales information.
Consistent with the requirements of the old version of the”Measures”, the new”Measures” requires food importers to establish a food import and sales record system, truthfully record relevant information, and retain relevant vouchers. Compared with foods with different shelf life, the”Measures” provides more flexible requirements for record retention periods. In addition, the customs is no longer required to inspect the food import and sales records of importers. FoodPartner.com believes that no longer conducting record inspections, on the one hand, does not mean relaxing the requirements for importers’ records, but actually improves the requirements for importers to use record information for food safety traceability and other management, and on the other hand, it also reduces customs administration. Burden, the corresponding main responsibility is changed to be borne by the importer.
3. [New] Review the obligations of overseas exporters and food manufacturers.
This is a new requirement for domestic food importers in the newly released Measures. Food importers should focus on reviewing the development and implementation of food safety risk control measures by overseas exporters and food manufacturers, as well as ensuring that food meets Chinese laws and regulations and national food safety standards. These two aspects can be said to be the core content of the compliance and safety of imported food. The review obligations of food importers set forth in the”Measures” have further improved the production and operation process of food importers from overseas exporters and production enterprises. The main responsibility requirements for the audit and control of the final product from two perspectives. Regarding the review method and frequency, the”Measures” does not give detailed regulations. We believe that food importers can review on their own or entrust a third-party organization with relevant experience to conduct the review. Perhaps the General Administration of Customs will issue a review in the future. Guidance documents for review operations.
4. [Emphasis] The obligation to declare truthfully when importing food.
The”Measures” emphasizes that food importers must truthfully declare to the customs when importing food. In recent years, with the reform of my country’s regulatory agencies, the procedures and systems for import food declaration have also changed. The authenticity of the information such as the category, formula, label and identification of the imported food will directly affect the implementation of subsequent supervision measures such as tax collection, disinfection, inspection and quarantine. Ensuring the authenticity of the declared information is the main responsibility of food importers.
5. [New] Obligation to carry out technical treatment of imported food that fails to meet other indicators as required.
The”Measures” require that imported foods that have been assessed by the customs for unqualified items other than safety, health, and environmental protection items shall undergo technical treatment until they meet the requirements of the conformity assessment before they are allowed to be imported. For imported food that cannot be processed within the specified time or is still unqualified after technical processing, the customs shall order the food importer to destroy or return it.
6. [Maintain] the obligation to recall substandard imported food.
The Measures still require that food importers discover that imported food does not comply with laws, administrative regulations, and national food safety standards, or have evidence that may endanger human health, they should follow Article 63 and Article 63 of the Food Safety Law. The third paragraph of Article 94 stipulates that the import, sale and use shall be stopped immediately and the recall shall be implemented. This provision is basically consistent with the original requirement.
In short, supervise and review foreign food exporters and production enterprises to ensure that the production and import process of imported food, product index requirements and labeling and identification meet the requirements of my country’s food safety standards and regulations, and import declarations are truthfully carried out in accordance with the specified content. Importing food in accordance with the process, truthfully recording relevant information, and recalling unsafe food in a timely manner is the main responsibility of Chinese food importers. The above is the interpretation of the main responsibilities of food importers in my country in conjunction with the”Measures for the Administration of Import and Export Food Safety (Order No. 249 of the General Administration of Customs)” and the old version of the”Measures” by FoodPartner.com for reference.
Related reports:General Administration of Customs Order No. 249 Order of the”Method”)