United States, China Outline Progress on Food/Feed Safety Agreement

In mid-June 2008, a progress report was issued on steps taken by the United States and China in implementing the 2007 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on food and feed safety signed in December 2007 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of the People’s Republic of China. The joint progress report statement was signed by Secretary Mike Leavitt and the Honorable Li Changjiang, minister of AQSIQ, during the fourth session under the United States-China Strategic Economic Dialogue.

The MOA established bilateral mechanism to provide greater information and other assurances to enhance the safety of food and feed products traded between the two countries. Since its signing, HHS’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and AQSIQ have planned a joint implementation work strategy and have begun the initial steps called for under the agreement.

The June statement describes progress in several important areas:

• Establishment of a mechanism for cooperation on significant events related to food and feed safety, including designated points of contact, emergency contacts, and thresholds for notifications; enhancing the exchange of information on the safety of food and feed safety; and developing a better understanding by both sides of each others’ respective regulatory systems.

• Development of concrete steps that will lead to a system whereby AQSIQ will electronically certify to FDA that specific products sent for export to the United States meet FDA standards for safety and manufacturing quality. 

• Focus efforts on inspections and supervision and laboratory testing standards to ensure food and feed safety. The United States agreed to conduct training for Chinese officials on U.S. regulatory standards and requirements.

• Establishment of a cooperative mechanism to notify each other of significant risks to public health related to product safety or the gross deception of consumers, and to share information to facilitate each other’s investigation.

For more information, go to http://globalhealth.gov/news/agreements/ia121107b.html.

August 2008 RENDER | back