Overcoming Regulatory Barriers on the Chinese Pet Food Market

China’s pet food market is the most dynamic market in the world. Last year, pet food sales reached a staggering USD2.2 billion with annual growth rates of more than 20 percent per year. It is not only pet food that’s growing, but a whole new industry is developing with pet spas, and pet hotels. Pet hospitals provide TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) for pets, and many restaurants and cafés are now catering to both pets and their owners (sharing the same table). Young Chinese couples are investing into their animal friends like never before.

Despite being a very lucrative market, China is still posing some challenges for foreign pet food brands. The regulatory barriers are often difficult to overcome.

Before listing the specific regulatory requirements for imported pet food, manufacturers should first check if their country of origin is allowed to export pet food to China. Presently, 17 countries are approved for pet food import into China.

Below we have provided an overview of the regulatory compliance requirements for imported pet food.

Requirements for Imported Pet Food

1RELEVANT AUTHORITIES Ministry of Agriculture (MOA)
General Administration of China Customs (GACC)
2BILATERAL AGREEMENT Enterprises should check if their country is allowed to export pet food to China (17 countries are currently approved – Australia is one of them)
3 ENTERPRISE (MANUFACTURER) REGISTRATION WITH GACC • Overseas feed manufacturers should be registered with China’s GACC by applying at a national /government level and being recommended to China for facility inspection.
  • The registration certificate for imported feed and feed additives is valid for 5 years – renewal should take place at least 6 months before the license runs out.

Approximate timeline for enterprise registration:
1-2 years (depending on the internal procedures of the authority)
4IMPORT REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE FROM MOA • The application Form for Feed and Feed Additive Imports and the supporting documents from applicants must be submitted to the Administrative Examination and Approval Office of the MOA.
  • Quality and Safety evaluations by MOA
  • Chinese labeling, quality standards, test & production methods and test reports are required.
  • A requirement for the import registration license is the appointment of a qualified legal entity/POA to represent your company during the process
Approximate timeline for import registration certificate:
4-6 months
5 PLANT/ANIMAL QUARANTINE IMPORT PERMIT • Business license, import/export license, application form, and photocopy of documents should be submitted to Customs for the quarantine import permit.
  • No testing is involved here as it is all just paperwork – timeframe from application to issuance of the import permit is approx. 1 month.
  • Please note that processes for different products will be slightly different
6 LABELING REQUIREMENTS Should comply with the new provisions on pet feed labels (please find more information below)

Labeling Requirements
Announcement No. 20 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs requires that the labels attached to domestic and imported pet feed products produced after September 1, 2019 should comply with the new provisions on pet feed labels. It was revealed in Announcement No. 210 that the grace period was to be extended by 6 months, until March 1, 2020.

Before March 1, 2020, if the pet feed production enterprise continues to use the old label, it will need to stick or attach an additional label. Additional labels should include the following information:

  • General name
  • Guaranteed Value of Product Composition Analysis
  • The sentence “This product conforms to the pet feed hygiene regulations”

The attached label should be in a prominent position on the old label, and the font size of the general name should not be smaller than on the old label.

For more details on the regulatory requirements for imported pet food, please contact us on info@knudsenchina.com