China’s food imports must be declared coronavirus-free

China’s customs authority has asked entities exporting food to China to sign a declaration that their goods have not been contaminated by the novel coronavirus.
calendar icon 22 June 2020
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Reuters reports that three people were sent letters on Friday 19 June outlining new export requirements. The declaration, seen by Reuters, could be an effort by China to reduce the additional testing it has carried out on imported foods in the last week. According to one meat importer who signed the declaration, it could also make exporters responsible for guaranteeing their products’ safety.

The importer declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The French pork industry association Inaporc also received the notice, an official said.

The declaration says the exporter is willing to comply with Chinese laws and guidance from the FAO and WHO to ensure food imported into China is not contaminated with SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“In the event that a new case/suspected case of COVID-19 is detected in a food enterprise, or if there is a risk of contamination of food products exported to China, we are willing to take all necessary measures to eliminate food safety risks and protect consumer health,” it adds.

China’s General Administration of Customs did not immediately respond to comment.

Beijing began testing imported food for the coronavirus after an outbreak in a wholesale food market last week.

In Tianjin, the primary port for Beijing, authorities are testing all containers of meat, importers said.
More than 30,000 samples of meat, seafood, vegetables and fruit were tested between 11 to 17 June.

All tested negative for the coronavirus, customs said on Thursday 18 June.

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