China has banned imports of soft European cheese for containing ‘too much bacteria’.
According to Chinese authorities, soft cheeses contain colonies of bacteria that haven’t been officially approved.
The ban will affect cheese imported from France and Italy, including brie, camembert, gorgonzola, and roquefort, as well as the English stilton.
Distributor of foreign-based cheeses in Shanghai, Sinodis, has announced that ‘cheese products containing certain molds cannot temporarily be imported in China’.
Since August, China has stopped importing nearly 50 kinds of cheese.
However, a spokesman for the delegation of the European Union to China believes the ban is unjustified. “There is no good reason for the ban, because China considers the same cheese safe if produced in China,” said William Fingleton.
He added: “This effectively means that China is banning famous and traditional European cheeses that have been safely imported and consumed in China for decades. The entire Chinese market for soft cheeses is now closed.”
The ban on soft cheese is troubling European officials.
“The European cheese industry is extremely concerned by this ban,” Fingleton said.
“We are concerned that potentially many other types of cheeses may be affected in the future in the same way.”