China has recently imposed a ban on soft European cheese as local officials say they contain “too much bacteria”.
According to CNN, customs officials have now begun blocking the importation of popular French cheeses, such as brie, camembert, and roquefort, to the country. Suppliers of such cheeses lament that there is no compelling reason for the ban, as the products have been safely imported and consumed in China for decades.
The ‘Delegation of the European Union to China’ representative William Fingleton said that the move has put an end to the entire Chinese market for soft cheeses.
“There is no good reason for the ban, because China considers the same cheese safe if produced in China,” he was quoted as saying.
Fingleton noted that the ban has caused extreme concern to the European cheese industry.
“We are concerned that potentially many other types of cheeses may be affected in the future in the same way.”
Cheese Republic CEO Vincent Marion, who warned his customers of the ban via Chinese social media just this Thursday, said his firm’s suppliers informed him that Chinese officials were stopping soft cheese from entering the country only two weeks ago. “So we can sell only the stock which was imported before [the ban took effect]” he said.
China imposed a similar ban temporarily in 2014 when it stopped imports of British cheese following a report from local food inspectors which found inadequate hygiene standards at a dairy farm in the U.K.. Marion, however, fears that this latest ban may not be temporary. “It’s very surprising that they decide to block so many,” he said.
Both China’s food safety agency “General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine,” and the Customs Bureau, have yet to make a statement on the issue.