China is the leading importer of a variety of agricultural products including soybeans, apples, potatoes, nuts, seeds, and seafood. In the coming years, it is expected that China will dominate other farm products as well. However, China still has issues in meeting the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements of developed nations. To address these issues, many buyers rely on the expertise of InTouch in dealing with agricultural products inspection.
InTouch covers a wide array of inspection protocols relating to agricultural products. The following are just a few of its intensive lists of farm products inspection processes:
- Product Grade Check– Verify the product meets the minimum grade required for admittance in the importing country. Recognized product grading systems differ for each importing nation so it is important to identify which standard to use before carrying out the inspection.
- Organically Grown Products Check – Verify that producer uses approved organic farming practices to ensure that his products are 100% organically grown. The appropriate testing protocols may be recommended as well.Contaminant Testing
- Hormone and Antibiotics Residue Testing – Verify that product does not contain drugs which levels exceed those allowed by FSIS, FDA, or equivalent regulatory agencies. This testing procedure is highly recommended in seafood products including eel and catfish which are often tested positive of nitrufuran, gentian velvet, or malachite green.
- Additives Check– Verify that if the product contains additives such as salt, sodium erythorbate, and MSG, that these are accordingly reported on its label. Product may also be recommended for testing against banned color enhancing additives. This protocol typically applies to agricultural products that have undergone some form of processing, either to enhance its appearance or shelf-life.
- Melamine Testing – This testing procedure came about as a safeguard against the use of melamine in milk, pet foods, and milk-containing products from China.
- Pesticide Levels Testing – These testing protocols verify that your product does not contain pesticides higher than the levels approved in the importing country. Apples, strawberries, peaches, and celery are just a few of a variety of farm products often tested positive for high levels of pesticide residues.
- Heavy Metals Testing – This verifies that your product does not contain high levels of heavy metals that could harm the health of end-users.
Disease and Infestation Inspection
- Foodborne Organisms Testing – Verify that ready-to-eat food product does not contain microorganisms that may cause illness when eaten.
- Quarantine Procedures Check – Verify that exporter uses the appropriate quarantine procedures to ensure that your product does not carry new pathogens into the importing country. Appropriate tests may include Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) Test, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) Test, Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) Test, Tuberculosis Test, Brucellosis Test, and Aujeszky`s Disease Test.
- Cold Storage Inspection – Verify that the cold storage facilities used to store your product passes the necessary requirements. This inspection protocol will help ensure that your product is protected from microbial contaminants and early deterioration.
- Pest Infestation Check – Thoroughly inspect agricultural product for presence of pests. This protocol many include inspecting the processing facilities particularly their use of the approved procedures and technology.Packaging and Labeling Inspection
- Common Name– Verify that labels for common name, including product variety name if applicable, is present as required by law or as specified by buyer.
- Product Grade Label – Verify that product grade is declared, if necessary. Product grade must be in line with grading standards recognized by the importing country.
- Net Quantity Declaration – Verify the product is declared by count, weight, or volume in approved units. This applies to pre-packed agricultural products that need no additional processing or repacking once they arrived in their destination.
- Ingredients List Check – Check ingredients list for accuracy, completeness, proper placement, and print quality. This applies to processed agricultural products.
- Manufacturer Information – Check product label for the name and address of manufacturer, packer, or distributor as well as the country of origin.
- Local Retailer Information – Check product label for the name, address, telephone numbers, and/or website of the local retailer, if prescribed. This may include other information required by the buyer including those intended for marketing purposes.
- Documentation Check – It is not uncommon that agricultural products are turned down because of lack of proper documentation. This protocol is recommended particularly when dealing with inexperienced Chinese exporters which are not familiar with the documentation requirements of the importing country.
- Nutritional Facts – Verify that nutritional facts are present if required by law or if specified by the buyer. Nutritional facts are required in processed farm products.
- Language Check – Verify that mandatory information are printed in languages required in the importing country. Both French and English must appear in mandatory labels for products to be exported to Canada.
- Container Check – Verify the use of standard containers appropriate to your product. It is extremely important to inform your supplier about every detail relating to approved containers including their chemical composition and sizes.
- Shippers Container – Verify that shipping boxes provide adequate protection to your product. Mandatory information must be present in shipping boxes.To know more about the complete list of inspection protocols applicable to your specific type of agricultural product, please contact an InTouch representative.