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Capsule-Type Common Food Imports Permitted in China

from CIRS by


For a long time, there has been ambiguity regarding whether capsule forms are allowed for common food in China.  The industry generally holds the view that capsules are commonly seen in health and pharmaceutical products, yet not suitable for common food. Consequently, few capsule-type common food products have been imported into China through general trade.

In recent days, CIRS Group has heard that the Chinese Customs is to enhance the inspection and regulation of imported capsule-type common food according to the requirement of an internal document. Key points are as follows:

1. Definition of capsule-type common food

Capsule-type common food refers to food with common food wrapped in capsules, either to be swallowed along with the capsules or have the content squeezed out and consumed. These capsules are made from gelatin, glycerin, and water, and have not obtained approval or filing as health foods.

2. Import of capsule-type common food unofficially permitted

This document was not released to the public, we speculate it is an internal document. It is anticipated that more of these products will enter the Chinese market following this notice.

In accordance with the Food Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China, imported food must comply with the national food safety standards. Despite this unofficial notice opening the channel for the large-scale import of capsule-type common food, the unique formulation of capsules poses a significant challenge in determining the applicable standards for product imports. Considering potential variations in enforcement across different customs regions, we suggest that enterprises should confirm with the Customs at the import ports before importing such food to avoid unnecessary losses.

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