In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) jointly with the Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) of the People's Republic of China, governing the registration of U.S. companies exporting certain food products to China. The MOU formally establishes a registration process that complies with administrative measures imposed by China as part of AQSIQ Decree 145, which requires the registration of foreign manufacturers of imported food. That decree also requires that CNCA receive certificates of compliance from CNCA-approved third parties for certain food products—milk and milk products, seafood, infant formula, and formula for young children—prior to the importation of such products into China.
Under the MOU, CNCA has recognized the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other entities, as approved third-party certification bodies for dairy and infant formula products. This category of products covers, among other things, various types of sterilized milk, fermented milk, milk powder, butter, condensed milk, cheese, whey powder, dairy-based infant formula and child formula, lactose, and casein.
CNCA has also recognized the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other entities, as approved third-party certification bodies for seafood products, i.e., products made from aquatic animals and ocean plants, such as salmon, lobsters and other crustaceans, surimi, and seaweed.
Once CNCA receives an attestation from the FDA that a U.S. producer's facility is in good regulatory standing and meets the applicable Chinese laws and regulations, CNCA will add the facility to its list of approved facilities. Consequently, Chinese Customs (GACC) will permit entry of approved food products manufactured by those facilities. (A current list of approved facilities is available here, but please note that this list will undergo revisions and updates, likely on a quarterly basis.)
With its extensive experience in both FDA compliance and international trade and customs matters, Venable is well positioned to assist U.S. exporters that want to ensure uninterrupted access to the Chinese or other markets for their food products. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the specific implications of this MOU or Chinese food safety measures for your company, please contact one of the listed authors.