China's Food and Drug Administration recently released the draft revisions to its Food Safety Law, which was implemented in 2009. The draft law has not yet been notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO), causing transparency concerns across U.S. food industries.
There are several new provisions within the revised draft law which have potential implications for U.S. food exporters. For example, new traceability conditions would require the establishment of purchase inspection and an outgoing inspection for food, raw materials, additives and other inputs. The law also appears to require on-site inspections of foreign producers exporting to China. Additionally, new documentation requirements, including the requirement for an inspection certificate, appear to indicate that U.S. agencies would be responsible for pre-shipment testing of exports destined for China. There is also new language covering the development of national food safety standards as well as local government and ‘enterprise' standards.
Further details on the requirements of the new draft regulation can be found in the following report from USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Should China notify the WTO of the draft food safety law, an international comment period is anticipated to follow.