China's royal jelly industry may become the first victim of Japan's tough new rules governing additives and quality of food products it imports, sources with a chamber of commerce told Xinhua on Tuesday.
Liu Zhaolin, secretary-general of the Royal Jelly chapter of the China Chamber of Commerce of Medicines and Health Products Importers and Exporters, warned that Japan may get tough on China's royal jelly exports. Royal Jelly is a substance harvested from bees and is claimed to have many medicinal benefits.
He said that Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has issued a statement specifically addressing the revised standards for royal jelly. It's a rare move that could indicate there will be more inspections of China-made royal jelly products.
Under Japan's new requirements for allowable chemical residues, which came into effect on on May 29, the allowable amount of an antibiotic found in royal jelly has been cut from 0.05 PPM to 0.0005 PPM.
Japanese laws stipulate that an import ban will be imposed once three of sixty batches of imported goods are found not to meet the country's product standards.
Liu warned Chinese companies, especially small ones, not to take a chance exporting royal jelly of poor quality as they might threaten China's royal jelly industry.
In February, China set up a compulsory quality standard for royal jelly but failed to standardize the allowable chemical residues.
To remedy the situation, Liu said that China, the world's largest royal jelly producer, must get its bee keepers to improve their quality control, processing and transportation of royal jelly.
"The core issue is to not to feed veterinary medicine with antibiotics to bees," Liu said, noting that a lack of uniform labeling standards of veterinary medicines means Chinese bee keepers often have difficulty choosing the right product to feed their bees.
Zhang Zhongpeng with the Gingshen Chapter of the Chamber said royal jelly was not the only product affected by Japan's new rule. A more comprehensive report will be available after next week, he said.
Official statistics show that China's annual export of royal jelly is 13,000 tons, about 90 percent of the world's total exports. More than 70 percent of the country's exports go to Japan.