New Rules for Canadian Food Exports to China

Companies that export medium risk food products to China (including exporters, processing plants, and cold and dry storage providers) will face new rules regarding these exports. If they don’t follow these new rules, they will not be able to export their products to China.

If a company has exported medium risk products to China since January 1st, 2017, they must complete Annex 1 and return it to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) by October 22nd, 2021.

This requirement comes on the heels of new regulations regarding food (including animal-based and plant-based food products) which will come into effect on January 1st, 2022. The Chinese government has issued two regulations (Decrees 248 and 249) affecting imported and exported foods, and countries exporting food products to China must meet these new requirements.

Decree 248 includes the requirement for a broad range of food products that will need to be registered with Customs China, including some products that are currently registered by the CFIA with China and listed in General Administration of Customs China’s (GACC) eligibility lists. Decree 248 also includes many new products that may require establishment and exporter registration by both CFIA and GACC.

In October 2021, the CFIA received specific guidance from the GACC. The GACC requested that the CFIA submit certain exporter/company information by the end of October 2021. The information required will depend on the company category. The GACC has created three categories of companies:

  • High risk: establishments that export or vessels that transport meat and meat products (beef and pork), aquatic products, dairy products, bird nests and bird nest products to China. At this time, companies in this category do not need to take any action
  • Medium risk: Exporters, processing plants, cold and dry storage who have exported one or more medium risk products (honey, Royal Jelly, casing (salted), soy flour, dry bean flour, dried peas, dried kidney beans, black pepper, canary seed (not for seeding) ,mustard powder, mustard, chili powder, borage seed, malt, canary seed without shell, fresh or chilled cucumber and pickle, fresh or chilled pea (with pod or without pod), wheat flour, flax seed, oat products, edible vegetable oil, coffee bean, functional food, foods for special dietary purposes) since January 1st, 2017 must complete Annex 1 and submit it to by October 22nd, 2021 before 11:59 PM. Only information completed in full and received by October 22, 2021 will be transmitted to China.
  • Low risk: All companies that currently export to China products that are not high or medium risk.
  • Companies will need to self-register with China through the International Trade Single Window Service System ( Article 9 of Decree 248 provides further details on this process and exporters should work with their Chinese importers as necessary to complete the registration. CFIA will provide further details on the process if and when they become available

Canadian food exporters should ensure that their products comply with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) as well as with China’s import requirements (including compliance with various provisions in the decrees) before these new decrees come into effect. Specifically, for those food exporters who are required to obtain an SFCR license, please ensure that you have a valid SFCR export license, implemented an effective Preventive Control Plan for both food safety and consumer protection risks, and that you are in compliance with the CFIA’s preventive controls and traceability requirements.