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What is the GACC registration?

Registration with the GACC is mandatory for producers from outside of China who wish to sell their food products and for exporters who wish to export the goods into the Chinese market. These are two separate processes, both under the jurisdiction of the General Administration of Chinese Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC). After the restructuring in 2018, the GACC took over the inspection and quarantine for the import and export of animals, and the supervision of food safety evidence for imported and exported food, which was previously the responsibility of the AQSIQ. Importing food into China is subject to a variety of food certification regulations. In addition to registration with GACC, some foods require approval with the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR).

GACC registration requires classification into various product categories specified by GACC. The classification is not always as simple as it may first appear, since some products are food mixtures or even in their application cannot be clearly assigned to one of the specified product categories. One example could be for which product category a schnapps chocolate should be classified. Would it me chocolate or alcohol?

China Customs Logo


The way a product is marketed can also influence which type of food approval is required. For example, a protein powder could be marketed as a dietary supplement, or as a food to support exercise, each of which falls into different product categories.

What foods need GACC Approval for China?

In principle, all imported food products, as well as all foreign exporters of food products, would require GACC registration. This registration is recorded in the China Single Window online system (also known as CIFER). Which form of registration is required depends mainly on the type of food you wish to export to China, since the regulations distinguish between two different types: recommendable and registrable.

Here is a list of the food products that are subject to recommendation and registration:

Foods that require a recommendation by their local authority
  • Meat and casings
  • Aquatic products
  • Dairy
  • Cubilose and Cubilose-Products
  • Bee Products
  • Eggs and Egg Products
  • Edible Fats and Oils
  • Stuffed pasta
  • Edible grains
  • Industrial grains and malt
  • Fresh and dehydrated vegetables
  • Dried beans
  • Spices
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Raw Coffee beans and Cocoa beans
  • Foods for special dietary use
  • Health-Products
Foods that can be registered directly
  • Processed vegetable products
  • Grain products
  • Tea
  • Nut products
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Soft drinks
  • Cookies and Bread
  • Sugar
  • Sweets and Chocolate
  • Seasonings
  • Roasted Coffee and Cocoa beans
  • Processed fruit products
  • Others

GACC Registration process for Producers

Food products subject to recommendation

If you want to export products such as meat, fish, seafood, dairy products, eggs, honey, nuts or dried fruits into China you must first contact your local competent authority. They must then confirm that your operation complies with the relevant rules and regulations and then make a recommendation of the producer and product to the GACC. The GACC then carries out the registration in the Single Window System. We will be happy to assist you with any questions regarding the recommendation process.


Food product


Food product listed in Article 7?


If yes: Recommendation to GACC by food authority


Producer registration


Import to China


Food product


Food product listed in Article 7?


If no: Producer registration


Import to China

Foods subject to GACC approval

For foods requiring GACC registration, we will be happy to walk you through the entire GACC registration process and submit the application for you in the singlewindow portal.

Procedure of GACC Registration for Producers

Producers are required to provide proof of approval from local authorities such as food safety certificates, information on raw materials, processing standards, storage conditions, and evidence of quality management. In addition, the new regulations indicate the possibility of random testing of imported food by Chinese authorities. Product labelling in the Chinese language is also required.

Importers are also required to provide the equivalent documents, as well as others confirmation that they are able to process and store the products appropriately. GACC reserves the right to invalidate registration if problems arise. For example, if food is contaminated, or if there is a significant change in food regulations in a country, they may pull the registration until they deem the situation is safe again and the circumstances have been re-examined.

We are happy to support you in the GACC approval of your “non-recommendable”, but registerable food products for the Chinese market. We will accompany you through the entire registration process. 

Procedure of a GACC Registration for Exporters

According to Decree No. 249, foreign exporters of food and cosmetics are required to register a basic file with the GACC, in which the exporter’s basic data are recorded. This is process is done through an online portal. Mandatory information includes the exporter’s name and address, the product groups to be exported, a confirmation that all information has been provided truthfully and the contact details of the responsible person. The exporter will receive an officially listed number, which they must indicate in their export documents. If the information changes, the exporter is required to notify the GACC within 60 days.

Marking Products with the GACC Registration Number

After receiving the Chinese registration number, the food producer must affix it to the packaging of the product. It must also be indicated in the customs documents.

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GACC Registration Overview

Validity of Registration5 years
Certification timeframeRecommendation products: from 2 to 4 months

Registration products: from 2 to 3 weeks
MarkingWith registration Number
Tests necessary?No, but the GACC has the right to ask for random samples
Factory audit necessary?No
China authorised representativeNo
Follow-up processNo


As a company with multiple production sites, do I need to register more than once?

Yes. Each food exporter site will require its own registration profile and will receive its own registration number.

Do I get only one registration number per location?

No. GACC assigns registration numbers per food product category at a location. This means that there is a different registration number for dairy products than for chocolate products, for example.

Who must be registered?

Companies involved in production, processing, storage and exporters.

What do I do when the 5 years of registration expire?

6 months prior to expiration you can apply for an extension.

How does it effect my GACC approval if I do if my product changes?

A change request must be submitted to GACC within 60 days of the change.

Will I receive notification that my application has been accepted?

For Foods Subject to Recommendation, you will receive notification from the agency. For foods subject to registration, you must follow up on this yourself.

To which category does my food belong?

The table above can give you a general idea. For any further detailed questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Do I need a CRA (China Representative Agent)?

No. This is not required by the authorities. However, there are contradictory statements on the Internet, which may be based on economic interests.

I am an exporter, not a producer, do I still need to register with GACC?

Yes, you need to register as an exporter with GACC.

I am a producer and exporter, what do I need?

Food registration as a producer and registration as an exporter are two separate registrations with GACC. You will need both.

I am already registered, when do I need to apply for a change?

If there are any changes in operating data, requirements for export to China, or product information, a change application must be submitted.

Video about the GACC registration for food in China

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