Exporting dairy products to China

​​​​The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources manages the registration and ongoing compliance of dairy exporters and export establishments with:

We certify dairy products for export to assure our trading partners that the goods comply with their requirements.

Before you export dairy products to China:

Details of the exporting process can be found in our step by step guide to exporting dairy products.

Sending dairy products without certification

Some consignments of dairy products do not require certification from us before you send them to China:

  • Consignments where the goods are legally imported into Australia and have not been further processed or repacked before re-export. Goods in this category can be exported in any quantity without further involvement from us. You should consult with your overseas buyer to make sure there are no other documentation requirements you must meet to clear your goods in China.
    • Imported product will have the country of origin on the label and carton.
    • Examples of imported infant formula include Karricare, Aptimal, Aptimal Gold, S26 and A2 infant formula.
  • Consignments less than 10 kg. Generally export legislation does not apply to consignments of less than 10 kg. You can purchase Australian made dairy products from the supermarket or outside the export chain and then send them to China as long as your shipment is less than 10 kg.
    • Product manufactured in Australia will be identified as ‘Made in Australia’ or ‘Product of Australia’.

Be aware that a number of changes to China’s ecommerce legislation are due to be implemented by the end of 2017. These changes will affect the export of small consignments or shipments outside the normal export channel, such as internet sales and shipments into the Free Trade Zone. Your buyer is best positioned to advise of eligibility into China’s Free Trade Zone.

What is a consignment?

The term consignment means the specific lot of goods being sent to a single consignee in the destination country at a particular time.

For example; if you are arranging a shipment of 100 x 8kg cartons of infant formula and each 8 kg carton of dairy product is clearly identified as being consigned to a different consignee/customer, then the shipment would satisfy the requirement for ‘less than 10 kg per consignment’ and no export requirements apply (if accepted by the importing country).

To meet the ‘less than 10 kg per consignment’ criteria, each consignment within the shipment must be clearly:

  • distinguishable as containing less than 10 kg of prescribed dairy product
  • consigned to different consignees.

If the 100 x 8 kg cartons of dairy products were consigned to just one consignee/customer, then it would be an export shipment to which the export legislation applies and for which an export permit is required.

If a freight forwarder is approached to export dairy goods that are not covered by an export permit, or have been incorrectly declared, or greater than 10kg and not eligible for export then they should contact us at Dairy.


Prescribed dairy products (and some non-prescribed goods) to China are only eligible for export if they:

Non-bovine milk products (such as sheep and goat milk) need to meet the same registration and export requirements as bovine (cow) milk products when exported to China.

China also requires additional registrations with their government:

History would suggest that dairy manufacturers can expect delays of up to 12 months for general dairy listing and possibly up to 2 years for infant formula. Despite ongoing discussions and in country representation, we have not been successful in reducing this delay.

Product specific requirements

Pasteurised liquid milk and fermented milk products

Manufacturers of fermented milk and pasteurised liquid milk (fresh and Extended Shelf Life) must meet additional requirements before your goods can be exported to China.

Prior to CNCA approval and listing each liquid milk and fermented milk manufacturer must submit a number of forms and documents to support your application.

We will provide you with the expected level of detail and documents required by China.

Documents typically include:

  • shelf life validation
  • cold chain compliance
  • product testing to Chinese standards
  • product safety
  • HACCP.

As with all Chinese listing and approval, the documentation process could take several months.

Infant formula

Before exporting infant formula to China, you will need to meet all of China’s registration requirements.

This includes:

  • sourcing infant formula from a manufacturer listed on the CNCA website (these establishments have been audited, approved and listed by the CNCA)
  • a clearly marked expiry date that is more than three months from the time the product enters China
  • labels in Chinese printed on the retail package

Eligible manufacturing companies must undertake a blending process, where all major and minor ingredients are blended together prior to canning. Companies that only can/pack bulk infant formula will not be approved.

China will only accept retail packages of infant formula. You are not permitted to send bulk infant formula products to China.

Check MICoR for details on requirements for infant formula exported to China.


To be listed by the CNCA as an approved infant formula manufacturer, your establishment must be audited by China to ensure specific requirements have been met.

You must complete China’s registration application form which has two parts:

  1. General Information about the Enterprise – this must include information about production (such as HACCP and CIP), raw materials, product traceability and recall, product testing, and the location and environment of your establishment.

  2. Overview of the Enterprise's Exports to China – this must include information about the relationship among the producer, exporter, importer, the trademark holder that exports the products to China and the responsible party that exports the products to China, import information (such as details of the importer, trademarks, consumer complaints system in China and procedures for recalls in China) and export information.