1. Competent authority
State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR)
National Health Commission (NHC)
General Administration of Customs of China (GACC)
2. Market access approval
2.1 Import permit at state level
Only aquatic products that passed the national assessment can be exported to China. Please refer to Catalogues of Foods Exported to China from Countries or Regions That Meet the Assessment and Examination Requirements and Conduct Traditional Trade with China for the permitted meat species and their exporting countries/regions.
2.2 Overseas manufacturer registration
According to the Administrative Provisions on Registration of Overseas Manufacturers of Imported Foods, overseas manufacturer registration is mandatory for all imported food products. The registration of aquatic products manufacturers should be recommended by competent authorities in exporting countries.
2.3 Inspection and quarantine
Imported aquatic products are subject to imported plant and animal product quarantine requirements. However, cooked aquatic products are exempted.
Consignees of imported aquatic products shall apply for the quarantine license of animal and plant entry before signing trade contracts. More information can be found in the detailed instruction.
Chinese government also released the detailed inspection and quarantine requirements for some products, such as breeding aquatic products imported from Cuba.
2.4 Exporter and importer filing
Regardless of food categories, overseas exporters or agents as well as importers in China shall log into this system and get themselves filed with GACC.
To have a better understanding of China’s food import procedure and supervision mechanism, please check ChemLinked online course: Regulatory Compliance and Import Procedure of Prepackaged Food in China
3. Product compliance
3.1 Product requirements
The national food safety standards specify the definition and technical requirements (ingredients, sensory requirements, physicochemical indicators, microorganism level, etc.) of aquatic products. Please refer to the corresponding GB standards for more details:
Referenced GB standard
Aquatic products of animal origin
Fresh and frozen aquatic products of animal origin
Algae and algae products
Dried sea cucumber
With reference to Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on the Registration and Administration of Overseas Manufacturers of Imported Food, the registration number of registered overseas aquatic products manufacturers should be marked on both internal and external package of imported aquatic products.
For imported aquatic products, according to the Administrative Measures on Safety of Import and Export Food, the following items shall be clearly indicated on both internal and external packages:
name of the goods and scientific name;
shelf life, and storage conditions;
production method (seawater fishing, freshwater fishing, or aquaculture);
production area (the sea area in the case of ocean fishing, the country (region) in the case of freshwater fishing, or the country (region) where the aquaculture product originates);
the name, registration number, and address (specific to state, province, or city) of each production and processing enterprise involved (including fishing vessel, processing vessel, transport vessel, and independent cold store);
destination (shall be the People's Republic of China).
In addition, if imported aquatic products directly enter China's consumer market, they must be indicated all above items. If imported aquatic products do not directly enter China's consumption market (e.g., being used as raw materials for processing and re-export), all the labeling information should be marked on pallets, containers or shipping cabins, which are recognized as independent packaging units.
The labeling of processed aquatic products (prepackaged) shall follow the requirements specified in GB 7718-2011 General Standard for the Labeling of Prepackaged Foods and GB 28050-2011 General Rules for Nutrition Labeling of Prepackaged Foods.
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