Importation of Meat and Meat Products to China
Jun 08, 2020
Anne Peng
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1.   Definition

Meat and its product in this foodpedia refer to any edible parts of animals, including the flesh, viscera, organ, by-products, as well as processed products whose raw materials are edible parts of animals, including the flesh, viscera, organs etc. It includes products derived from deer, horse, cattle, poultry, sheep, and pigs but excludes canned meat products. 

2. Supervision system

2.1 Competent authorities & responsibilities

The importation of meat products mainly involves three government departments: General Administration of Customs, State Administration for Market Regulation, and the National Health Commission.


- Registration of overseas food manufacturers

- Entry-exit inspection and quarantine


- Supervision over the food market, including pre-market approval, during

- and post-market inspection.


- Formulation and revision of national food safety standards

2.2 Regulatory framework

In China, the Food Safety Law published by the National People's Congress is the overarching law governing food circulated in China and provides the broadest legal requirements for stakeholders operating in Chinas’ food sector. The Implementation Rules of Food Safety Law flesh out the broad edicts stipulated within the Food Safety Law and details the practical implementation requirements for the various links in the food supply chain. The major regulations on imported meat and its products are:


Document name

Effective version


Food Safety Law


Administrative rules

Implementation Rules of Food Safety Law


Department regs

Administrative Provisions on Registration   of Overseas Manufacturers of Imported Foods

2012   (the revised version was under consultation   in 2019)

Import and Export Commodity Inspection   Law


Implementation   Rules of Import and Export Commodity Inspection Law


Law on the Entry and Exit Animal and   Plant Quarantine


Implementation Rules of Law on the Entry   and Exit Animal and Plant Quarantine


Administrative Measures on the Inspection   and Quarantine of Entry and Exit Meat Products



General   standard

e.g., GB 31650-2019 National Food Safety   Standard Maximum Limits of Veterinary Drugs in Foods


Product   standard

e.g., GB 2707-2016 National Food Safety Standard   Fresh (Frozen) Livestock and Poultry Products


Test   method

e.g., GB 5009.253-2016 National Food   Safety Standard Determination of PFOS and PFOA in Animal Origin Foods



(*not applicable to imported meat   products)


3.   Importation Procedure and Requirements

3.1 Country-level approval

China GAC evaluates the food safety systems of overseas countries/regions and update "Directory of approved imported food and exporting countries/regions" based on timely evaluation results. The Directory covers eight categories of food, which pose higher safety risks, including meat, dairy products, aquatic products, birds nest, casing, food derived from plants, Chinese traditional medicine, and honey. Those foods (unprocessed or simply processed) are not allowed to be imported if relevant food categories or the exporting countries/regions are not in the Directory.

vIXKHtKGdVGAUMcweJkm.pngStakeholders are advised to check the country-level approval information before exporting.

In situations where the meat and(or) place of origin are not in the Directory, competent authority of exporting countries/regions can follow the process below to apply for quarantine approval.

Step 1: Application

Overseas competent authority files an application (in writing) to export meat to China. China GAC kicks off risk assessment procedures and provides a corresponding questionnaire to the exporting country/region.

Step 2: Evaluation

GAC organizes an expert panel to evaluate safety risk based on the answers to the questionnaire. During the evaluation, GAC might send experts abroad to conduct an onsite inspection when necessary.

Step 3: Negotiation on inspection and quarantine requirements

According to evaluation results, exporting country/region and China negotiate on inspection and quarantine requirements. When both parties reach an agreement, they sign a protocol, memorandum, and publicize the requirements on the GAC website.

3.2 Registration of overseas meat (products) manufacturers

Following country-level approval, overseas factories of imported meat and its products exporting to China shall register at GAC according to Administrative Provisions on Registration of Overseas Manufacturers of Imported Foods.

266Vsg9tgjmqEdSVUukn.pngThe Directory of Registered Overseas Manufacturers is dynamically updated on the GAC website based on examination results. (refer to ChemLinked F-list)

3.3  Filing of food importers/exporters/manufactures

equ6EkUNfsf8VaCKRI2b.pngRelevant food importers, exporter, and manufacturers need to submit required information online for GAC management. Registration system website:

3.4  Quarantine license of entry animal and plant

Consignees of imported meat and its products shall apply for quarantine license of entry animal and plant before signing trade contracts. Detailed instruction:

3.5  Compliant packaging and labeling

Cold fresh and Frozen meat are subject to the following packaging and labeling requirements:

  • Firstly, packages shall be intact and be manufactured with non-toxic materials.

  • Secondly, the inner and outer packing shall bear information of origin country, product name, registration number of overseas manufacturers, production batch number.

  • Thirdly, outer packing shall bear specification, production address (as detail as state/province/city), destination, production date, shelf life, storage condition, and so forth in Chinese. Destination shall be China. The quarantine mark of exporting country or regional authority shall be attached.

We provide services including regulatory consultation, overseas manufacturer registration, Chinese label review and design, customs clearance assistance, regulation translation, online and offline training, if you are in need, do not hesitate to contact us.