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Changes in China's Policy Will Further Facilitate Some Cheese Imports

放大字体  缩小字体 Date:04 Dec 2017  Source:Foodmate  Writer:Sun Guoliang  Views:243
 In 2017, China's soft cheese ban incident aroused widespread media attention at home and abroad as well as import and export enterprises, and some foreign media constantly reported on the matter. However, the two recent policy documents show that China's policy adjustment gradually optimizes the import of cheese. based on the review of the incident, Foodmate analyzes the recent policy changes for readers' reference.

Review on the soft cheese ban incident
During August and September of 2017, some media reported that "China has completely banned the importation of a series of mould-ripened cheeses mainly from France and Italy, which was a bad news for foreigners in China." The report quoted a statement from William Fingleton, as the spokesman for the EU delegation, "The entire Chinese soft cheese market has now been completely closed down, which means that China has banned the import of the famous and traditional soft cheese from Europe; however, the safe soft cheese has been imported for decades. The reason for the ban is not sufficient because China believes that the same kind of cheeses produced domestically is safe." Another media reported that" the health authority informed the inspection and quarantine officers that colonies of moulds such as penicillium found in blue cheese were not included in the approved list of imports, and the ban on imports was subsequently promulgated. The ban, which came into effect in July, is rapidly expanding to the whole country." Another part of the media interpreted that the reason why Chinese authorities ban the import of these foreign dry cheeses was that the inspection and quarantine authorities in China found excessive amounts of bacteria in these cheeses. In response, the Director General of AQSIQ Zhi Shuping denied the release of the ban after the press conference held by the State Council Information Office on September 13, and clarified the matter is attributed to complaints on such products involving the standard for use, where the cheese is either ripened cheese or unripen cheese, and the results of the investigation would be announced on the website of AQSIQ. However, at present, AQSIQ has not released the survey results.
China allows the import of cheese ripened by certain species of bacteria
Previously, Foodmate has analyzed the cheese ban from a regulatory point of view, the main problem was the compliance of bacteria used in China, but recently we found from a file shared by users of Food Forum that NHFPC allowed the use of certain strains for the ripening of cheeses and provided a basis for the compliance of these cheeses into China through normal trade routes.
NHFPC stated, in the so-called document "Reply letter on the issues of specific mould in mould-ripened cheese" on October 11, 2017, that cheese shall be divided into three kinds (ripened cheese, mould-ripened cheese, and unripen cheese) according to "GB 5420-2010 National food safety standard Cheese". Mould-ripened cheese refers to the cheese which is promoted to be ripened through the growth of the specific mould inside the cheese and/or on the surface of the cheese. Specific moulds refer to the species specified in the standards of Codex Alimentarius Commission or other national regulatory standards, including Penicillium candidum, Geotrichum candidum, Penicillium roqueforti, etc.. Under the premise of being in line with the national food safety standard and ensuring food safety, the above-mentioned mould can be used as a specific mould in the mould-ripened cheese.
China reduced the tariff rate on imported cheese
On November 22, 2017, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council released a notice on adjusting the import tariffs on some consumer goods. Starting from December 1, 2017, the tariff rate on some consumer goods will be reduced by a provisional tax rate. Thereinto, various types of ground or powdered cheeses, processed cheeses (excluding grinded or powdered ones), blue cheese and other textured cheeses produced with Penicillium roqueforti, and the other cheese, MFN rates are 12%, 12%, 15% and 12% respectively. Since December 1, the tentative tax rates have been adjusted to 8%.
It can be seen from the above two policies that China's recent clarification on the species of moulds used for mould-ripened cheese and the adjustment of tax rate will help the overseas cheese enterprises to continue to export cheese products to China. Foodmate reminds companies to take the opportunity to expand their business. At the same time, Foodmate can also provide overseas companies with services such as regulation consulting, process consulting and compliance review in the process of cheese import.

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