Foreign food importers will be able to tell certified Chinese food products from fake ones thanks to a "CIQ" mark that all legal food exports are required to carry on their packaging from next month.
The mark stands for China Inspection and Quarantine, which guarantees that the exports have passed quality tests, according to a regulation unveiled by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).
The packages should also carry information such as the enterprise's name and address, batch number and production date so that any quality problems can be traced to the source.
The measure is aimed at guaranteeing the quality of Chinese food exports and curb illegal exports, according to the AQSIQ.
The move is necessary although it may increase costs for Chinese food exporters, said Huo Jianguo, president of the China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Products and Animal By-products.
Inspection and quarantine agencies in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, said the new regulation is expected to affect some 20,000 shipments worth $100 million each year.
Some widely reported cases concerning the quality of made-in-China food products actually involve illegal exports that have not gone through any inspection and quarantine, Huo said.
The measure is part of the efforts by the government to safeguard the reputation of Chinese products following safety worries ranging from additives, toothpaste and seafood to toys.