China now requires Australian businesses to register their establishments and food products in the China Import Food Enterprise Registration (CIFER) system before exporting food products to China. These rules apply to all Australian:
- cold storage facilities.
Food exporters who do not manufacture, further process or store products are not required to register in the CIFER system. However, if they choose to export a product to China, they must source it from an establishment registered in CIFER.
CIFER is administered by China
The CIFER system is administered by the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) and applications are assessed by China.
There are two registration pathways depending on the product:
- verification needed from Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), or
- direct self-registration.
Verification needed from the department
Some applications require DAFF verification of information provided by the applicant to support their CIFER registration.
The food products requiring official verification are described in Article 7 of Decree 248 of China’s imported food legislation. These products include certain fresh foods, such as meat, dairy products and seafood.
Generally, if the food product is not on the Article 7 list, then it needs to be self-registered in CIFER.
Products that do not require departmental verification must be directly registered on the CIFER system by the applicant. These food products are described in Article 9 of Decree 248.
The department has no oversight of information submitted regarding these Article 9 products. Any troubleshooting or assistance must be sought directly from GACC through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Establishments manufacturing or storing both Article 7 and 9 products
Manufacturing and cold storage establishments that handle both Article 7 and Article 9 products should use the CIFER account obtained through the department.
Establishments registered for Article 9 products that wish to add an Article 7 product are required to submit an ‘Account certification’ request through CIFER. The department will have a role in certifying the establishment is under the jurisdiction of the department which will then allow Article 7 products to be added to the account.
About the requirements
On 1 January 2022, the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) implemented changes to registration and labelling requirements for food processing and cold storage establishments under:
- Decree 248 – Regulations of the People’s Republic of China and Administration of Overseas Manufacturers of Imported Food.
- Decree 249 – Administrative measures on Import and Export food Safety. This decree covers a broad range of requirements, including product labelling.