New China pet food regulations: What importers should know

International pet food companies doing business with China may be affected by recent regulatory changes instituted by the country's government.

With a growing demand for pet food products and e-commerce gaining ground, the Chinese government has updated its pet food regulations, potentially affecting those who do international trade with the country. | freeimages.com, Kostya Kisleyko
With a growing demand for pet food products and e-commerce gaining ground, the Chinese government has updated its pet food regulations, potentially affecting those who do international trade with the country. | freeimages.com, Kostya Kisleyko

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (MOA) issued new regulations to strengthen the administration of pet food, “Administrative Measures for Pet Feed.” The regulations apply to pet food products made both in China and abroad. Here is how they may affect the import of pet food to China.

Pet food definitions and classifications

The regulations bring up the classification of pet food, and this is the first time that MOA has come up with the specific classification of pet food. Pet food is generally divided into three categories: pet compound feed, pet feed additive premix and other pet feed. Their definitions are as follows:

  • Pet compound feed is the feed that is compounded by multiple feed materials and feed additives at fixed proportions to satisfy pets’ nutritional requirements at different life stages or certain physiological or pathological situations. Pet compound feed can satisfy comprehensive nutritional requirements when used separately.”
  • Pet feed additive premix is the feed that is compounded by nutritional additive and carriers or diluents at fixed proportions to meet pets’ needs on amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes, etc.”
  • Other pet feeds are compounded by multiple feed materials and feed additives at fixed proportions to reward pets, interact and stimulate pets to chew or bite.”

So, let’s classify the pet food we usually encounter according to the above definitions. Complete pet food (dry or wet) can provide comprehensive nutrition when used separately, so these formulas match the definition of pet compound feed. Many nutritional pastes and tablets can supplement nutritional substance and improve pets’ physiological status, so such products should be classified as pet feed additive premixes. The remaining kinds of pet food, such as meat jerky, biscuits and canned food (not marketed as a complete formulation), are included in the category of other pet feeds.

Registration requirements under the new regulations

Not all pet foods have to be registered by MOA. According to MOA’s new regulations, “an overseas pet food manufacturer that exports pet compound feed and pet feed additive premix must designate one domestic agent to apply for import registration with MOA and obtain the registered license.” As for other pet foods, they don’t have to be registered.

With regards to the products that require registration, there are companies that may be importing and selling them in China without obtaining a registered license — one article is stipulated for the administration of this situation specially:

“For those pet compound feed and pet feed additive premixes subject to import registration regulation according to the classification in ‘Administrative Measures for Pet Feed,’ if they have been imported and sold in China but not registered, overseas pet food manufacturers must apply for import registration and obtain their registered license before September 1, 2019.”

E-commerce regulations

Since a registered license is always required for Customs clearance when people take the way of traditional trade, some people transfer their business to an e-commerce platform where administration is weaker. However, according to the new regulations, there will no longer be an exception for e-commerce.

“The provider of a third-party platform for online sales of pet feed should implement real-name registration of the involved pet feed traders, supervise the traders to perform their responsibility and obligation on the administration of pet feed safety, and guarantee that pet feed being sold on the platform complies with the requirements in this measure.”

In recent years, the Chinese pet market has been growing rapidly. With the increase of demand for high-quality pet food, many international pet food brands are crowding into the Chinese market. In order to regulate the market environment and guarantee the quality of pet food in the Chinese market, it’s believed that the Chinese government will keep strengthening its administration in coming years.

Dylan Zhu is the business manager for Feed China Registered License Center (FeedChina), an agency with extensive experience in the field of import pet food registration. For more information, visit www.feedchina.net.

Page 1 of 703
Next Page