Packaging mark to authenticate Chinese food

By George Reynolds

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food safety Import Export Guangdong

A new mark required on the packaging of Chinese food exports from
next month will allow importers to tell certified products from
fakes, according to food safety officials.

The "CIQ" mark, which stands for China Inspection and Quarantine, guarantees that products have passed quality tests, according to a regulation unveiled by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

A series of food safety scares, including the discovery of Melamine in feed, have plagued Chinese exports over recent months.

National regulators and the other government bodies have been taking measures to combat both food safety and authenticity of products manufactured in China.

Although the regulation will improve worldwide confidence in the quality and authenticity of Chinese products, exporters may be hit with additional charges to cover to cost of the scheme, said Huo Jianguo, president of the China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Products and Animal By-products.

The new regulation is expected to affect about 20,000 shipments worth $100m each year, according to Inspection and quarantine agencies in Dongguan, Guangdong Province.

China pledged to prevent substandard food exports in a white paper published last week.

The first of its kind, the paper issued by the State Council provides information on food production and quality, the food supervision system, imports and exports, as well as international exchanges and cooperation on food safety.

If requested by an importing country, quarantine authorities should issue a hygiene certificate, and enter on the certificate the name, address, hygiene registration number of the producing enterprise, date of production, date of export, loading port and destination port, supplementing the "CIQ" mark.

The white paper admitted a few Chinese companies had avoided quarantine inspections by means of fraud, and exported their goods through illegal channels, which resulted in fake and substandard food going abroad.

However, going forward companies that severely violated regulations or avoided quarantine inspections will now face fines and added to an internet blacklist.

To date, 55 enterprises have been included on the List of Unlawful Enterprises.

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