China to stop testing chilled, frozen foods for COVID from Jan. 8

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China will stop testing refrigerated and frozen foods for COVID-19 from Jan. 8, according to a notice seen by Reuters and reviewed by authorities.

The State Administration of Market Supervision also no longer requires all imported chilled and frozen foods to enter the central warehouse for disinfection and inspection before reaching the domestic market.

The withdrawal of measures follows a similar announcement on Wednesday that customs officials would stop inspecting cold-chain food arriving at ports in the more

After three years of imposing the world’s toughest COVID regime of lockdowns and relentless testing, China turned to coexisting with the virus this month, but new infections are surging.

China began COVID testing of refrigerated and frozen food imports in 2020 after an outbreak of disease in a wholesale market led officials to believe the virus was spread from imported agricultural products.

The practice has been controversial among trading partners and has significantly slowed food shipments to China, the world’s largest buyer of meat and many other perishable commodities.

Also, the costs for both importers and exporters are rising.

“The lifting of inspection and disinfection requirements will undoubtedly benefit the meat industry in terms of reducing extra costs and speeding up the movement of goods,” said Beijing Minsun Consulting Co., Ltd. One Huang Juhui said:

The cost of COVID-19 inspection and disinfection, moving goods from the port to central storage, demurrage, electricity bills, and central storage costs up to 30,000 yuan ($4,321) per container, taking up to 30 days. Huang says it’s possible.

“The reported end of COVID testing and disinfection of imported meat at distribution points within ports and markets is encouraging towards the resumption of normalized trade. It will be welcomed by both merchants and exporters.” Joel Haggard, senior vice president of Asia Pacific for the American Meat Exporters Federation, said:

($1 = 6.9428 Chinese Yuan)

Reported by Hong Kong High Table and Dominic Patton.Editing by Alex Richardson and Kim Coghill

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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