China Approves The Return Of French Cheeses
The French cheese industry has begun to celebrate the return of one of its fastest growing markets in the form of China after the European Union, China, and French diplomats came to an agreement over the recent ban of some forms of soft and mold-matured cheeses. Chinese cheesemongers and members of the French cheese industry have all reacted positively to the news an agreement had been reached with many European cheese experts calling the Chinese regulations regarding soft cheeses "outdated".
China began a nationwide ban on some forms of soft cheeses as far back as September 2017 with government regulators reporting the need mold-ripened cheeses often produced in France and Italy may contain bacteria not passed by government-approved officials for consumption. In some areas of China, a ban of imported soft, mold-ripened cheeses was established as far back as June 2017 and prompted Chinese cheese enthusiasts to rush out and purchase a range of imported cheeses from some of the top merchants in the country. The problem appears to have begun with Chinese officials becoming worried by the use of certain bacteria in the production and maturity process of many kinds of cheese including an estimated 50 kinds of cheese which had been sold in the nation for decades.
Negotiations have been ongoing between high-level Chinese officials, French cheese industry insiders, and European trade officials to find a way out of the standoff which halted imports of a large number of the 90 percent of cheese purchased in China coming from outside the nation, according to The Independent. The standoff over the sale of mold-ripened cheeses has been of major concern in both Europe and China as the industry in China is worth more than $700 million per year and grew by over one quarter in products sold in 2016. Despite the ban being lifted immediately, Chinese cheese merchants warned the ability to stock more cheese products in China would take a number of weeks for products to be ordered and imported into China.
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