Entry-Exit Alerts for Chinese Food Market (Part 2) – Bird’s nests update

Today I publish the second part of the article published on 16th December 2015 (Entry-Exit Alerts for Chinese Market) by Quinn Hulk, Food and Drug Administration of Beijing – Food Law Advisor and our country contributor for China.

You can contact Quinn Hulk directly via e-mail at hulkquinn@163.com.

Without prejudice to Food Safety Law of People’s Republic of China, Law of the People’s Republic of China on Import and Export Commodity Inspection and its Enforcement Regulation, Provisions on the Registration and Administration of Foreign Manufacturing Enterprises Exporting Food to China, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as AQSIQ) has announced the latest catalogue of products needed to be registered for foreign food manufacturers (No. 138 Notification of AQSIQ, 2015).

Compared with the old version (No. 62 Notification of AQSIQ, 2013), the authority has put bird nest products in the catalogue. Nothing else has changed. The registration rules for foreign manufacturers of bird nest is entered into force on 1st January, 2016. Here is the newly added content in the latest version.

No. Name Definition Remarks
04 Bird nest products Edible bird nest and bird nest produce which are formed from salivary secretion of Aerodramus fuciphogus, Aerodramus maximus etc, with dirt and feathers removed. Edible bird nest Bird nest products such as whole nest, bar-shaped nest, cake-shaped nest and fragmentary nest after sorting, immersion in water, cleansing, removal of feathers, reshaping, drying processing, split packing etc. This excludes bird nest produce such as bird nest in crystal sugar.
Bird nest produce Such as canned bird nest in crystal sugar, bottled bird nest in crystal sugar etc.

Considering the fact that the majority of bird nest products come from Southeast Asia (mainly Indonesia and Malaysia), food manufacturers in these countries should get ready for the change. According to the article 3 of Provisions on the Registration and Administration of Foreign Manufacturing Enterprises Exporting Food to China, the competent authority for the registration of foreign manufacturing enterprises which export food to China is Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China.

Although the current bird nest market is a niche market, great opportunities could still be grasped to expand businesses in China with the government putting so much emphasis on the development of Internet and the country entering into an aging society. The people are also getting more and more food-conscious and are yearning for a prolonged life of high quality.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party has lifted the food safety concern of the nation to an unprecedented priority and a national strategy in the year of 2013. It’s foreseeable that a growing number of stricter regulations and rules will come into force, which might have a huge impact on the food importers and exporters both domestically and overseas. It also means the food market will become less crowded yet more competitive and be shared with those who are wise enough to see the changes and strong enough to embrace them.

Written Q&A to EU Commission – Seaweed as food

That is an intriguing topic and to be honest I don’t know much about it. If any readers could give more details I’d be very happy to read. But I know lovely recipes of the Japanese cuisine tradition: I can’t eat my sushi without a side of spicy wakame salad!

Question for written answer E-001838/13
to the Commission
Hans-Peter Martin (NI)
(20 February 2013)

Subject: Use of seaweeds as food

Scientists see edible seaweeds, in particular wracks, as a potential environmentally friendly and cost-effective option
for producing nutritious food. According to media reports, the cultivation of brown seaweeds in particular is
increasing in the EU.

1. Does the Commission have any data on how many tonnes of seaweed are (a) produced in the EU, or (b) imported into the EU each year for use as food or food supplements?
2. Is there currently any regulation at EU level of (a) the cultivation, (b) the import, and (c) the sale of seaweeds or seaweed products as food?
3. In what way, if any, does the Commission support research and development in the area of the cultivation or processing of seaweed?
4. In what way, if any, does the Commission promote the cultivation or marketing of seaweed as food?
5. In what way, if any, does the Commission promote campaigns to inform citizens of the use of seaweed as food or to promote its consumption?

Answer given by Ms Damanaki on behalf of the Commission
(16 May 2013)

Statistics are available for imports and exports of seaweed and other algae (1) but this does not allow to distinguish those seaweeds used for food (2).

The Commission is aware of traditional collection along the coastline and the more recent interest in seaweed aquaculture. In 2011, total imports amounted to 73.4 million tonnes with a value of EUR 60.7 million and exports were valued at EUR 15.6 million. The biggest imports come from Iceland, but the highest value imports come from Philippines, China, Chile and Japan. The main exporters were UK and Germany.

Seaweed production is covered by the EU organic legislation (3) and the Commission has proposed to the Codex Alimentarius to include them in Codex Guideline for organically produced foods (4). The ERDF (5) is funding the creation of a European network of seaweed (6) stakeholders to produce a best practice model of sustainable commercial utilization of seaweed in Europe.

Research on algae is well covered under the 7th Research Framework Programme in particular research and innovation on micro and macro algae biorefineries as promising sources of high added-value products (7). One large topic of the last call of FP7 — Theme 2 Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and Aquaculture addresses particularly this subject with a total EU contribution of EU 20 million (evaluation ongoing).

The reform of the common fisheries policy includes the promotion of aquaculture through strategic guidelines, multiannual national plans and common objectives.

The Commission does not carry out European-wide communication and promotion campaigns on seaweed as food. However, Member States may support promotion activities under the European Fisheries Fund (8) and the development of sustainable aquaculture including edible seaweeds.

* * * * *

⋅1∙ Under CN code 1212 20 00.
⋅2∙ Novel foods or novel food ingredients from species of algae that were not on the market (before 15 May 1997, entry into force of Regulation (EC) No 258/97) require a safety assessment and eventually authorisation under the regulation before they may be placed on the market.
⋅3∙ Council Regulation 834/2007 and Commission Regulation 888/2008.
⋅4∙ GL 32 1999.
⋅5∙ European Regional Development Fund.
⋅6∙ www.netalgae.eu
⋅7∙ Feed proteins, polymers, pharmaceuticals, high value oils and chemicals, bioactive compounds, colorants and biofuels.
⋅8∙ Council Regulation (EC) No1198/2006 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 498/2007.