China will reportedly no longer require the testing of chilled and frozen food imports for Covid-19.

The order from the State Administration for Market Regulation, which also applies to removing a requirement for the disinfecting of chilled and frozen food imports, comes into effect from 8 January, according to a notice from the government body seen by news agency Reuters.

China introduced the food-testing requirement more than two years ago and the relaxation comes even as the country grapples with a rise of new Covid cases. Countries such as the US and the UK have announced restrictions in recent days on people entering from China amid a lack of clarity over the number of reported infections from the virus, which first emerged in the country in the city of Wuhan in December 2019, sparking a global pandemic.

Chilled and frozen food imports will also no longer be required to be directed to centralised warehouses for inspection and disinfection before they enter the local food supply chain, Reuters reported. The news service also said China’s customs authority made a similar announcement last week that it will stop testing ‘cold-chain’ food imports at the country’s ports.

Despite Covid-19 originating in China and then spreading globally, forcing countries into lockdowns, the Asian nation imposed restrictions on food imports early in 2020 due to fears of contaminated goods arriving from offshore.

Reuters quoted Joel Haggard, the senior vice president for the Asia Pacific at the US Meat Export Federation, as saying “the reported ending of Covid testing and disinfection of imported meat at ports and at in-market distribution points will be an encouraging step toward the resumption of normalised trade”.

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By GlobalData

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