U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), the National Milk Producers Federation(NMPF) and officials from the U.S. and China have reached an accord on dairy trade by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will increase access to China for more than 200 U.S. dairy exporters. The action creates new opportunities for dairy farmers and processors, and the milk, cheese, infant formula and ingredients they produce.
The MOU formally outlines a process in which third-party certification bodies, on FDA’s behalf, will audit U.S. dairy facilities to make sure they comply with Chinese food safety requirements. There was never a question of U.S. product safety. It was more a question of compliance with regulations between two countries with rigid regulatory systems.
“This deal marks a significant opportunity for the U.S. dairy industry,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “China is already the world’s largest dairy importer, even though per capita consumption remains far below that of the United States, Europe and even its Asian neighbors like Japan and South Korea. The potential to increase exports there is tremendous.”
The Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA) and FDA needed to find a solution. Until that happened, no new U.S. dairy plants could be added to China’s list, effectively putting companies in a state of limbo, until this agreement.
The USDEC says U.S. companies can begin shipping once their plants have been officially listed as registered on the CNCA website.