Subscribe Login
DE4CC0DE-5FC3-4494-BCBF-4D50B00366B5
Coronavirus

US Food Exporters Sign Safety Declarations In Lieu Of Virus-Free Guarantees

US food and feed exporters are shipping goods to China with letters assuring the safety of their cargo in lieu of official declarations requested by Chinese authorities that guarantee coronavirus-free shipments, an agricultural export group said has said.

The commitment statements, drafted by the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC), are meant only to assure importers that shipments have been harvested, processed and handled consistent with industry safety standards and guidelines from medical experts.

Official Declarations

The move comes after China's customs authority last week asked food exporters to the country to sign official declarations their produce is not contaminated by the novel coronavirus.

Chinese demands for the guarantees have roiled the food and agriculture sector and are causing some shippers to forego the China trade, US produce growers group said on Friday.

"You're not signing your name to a guarantee that they have no coronavirus. Nobody can do that. Coronavirus does not live on food or plants," said Peter Friedmann, executive director of AgTC, which represents mostly exporters of U.S. agricultural products in shipping containers.

Virus-Free

Exporters cannot guarantee that cargo will remain free of the virus after it leaves their facilities, Friedmann said.

"If a Chinese customs inspector has the virus and he handles something, someone can come back later and say that shipment has coronavirus," he said.

Chinese customs officials have not confirmed that the commitment statements are acceptable replacements for their official declarations, but no AgTC members have reported any related shipping issues to date.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

Stay Connected With Our Weekly Newsletter

Processing your request...

Thanks! please check your email to confirm your subscription.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
Enjoy unlimited digital access for 30 days
Get exclusive access to the latest grocery retail & FMCG news, interviews with industry leading executives, and expert analysis on the trends shaping the sector today
Enjoy unlimited digital access for 30 days
Enjoy unlimited digital access for 30 days
Get exclusive access to the latest grocery retail & FMCG news, interviews with industry leading executives, and expert analysis on the trends shaping the sector today
Enjoy unlimited digital access for 30 days