China’s General Administration on Customs is asking some exporters to sign forms guaranteeing their products are free from COVID-19 contamination. Politico says that’s not sitting well with many U.S. food producers, who say they’re hesitant to sign off on the new safety protocols when they say it’s highly unlikely their food can even carry the virus.
Western Growers CEO Dave Puglia says the new requirements from Beijing “are not based on any legitimate food safety concern,” citing international food safety guidelines that have found no evidence of the virus being transmitted through food or packaging.
The pushback follows a rare joint statement from the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration that says, “Efforts by some countries to restrict global food exports related to COVID-19 transmission are not consistent with the known science of transmission.” Instead of signing the form issued from the Chinese government, some exporters are sending their own “commitment statements” with their cargo.
The Ag Transportation Coalition sent its members three examples of statements they could use. “While China Customs hasn’t confirmed these statements are acceptable substitutes for the official form, we are hearing that exporters sending these statements have not encountered any issues so far with their customers clearing cargo in China,” the group says in an email.