Customs helps food firms with moon cakes

Yang Yang
Songjiang Customs helps district's food firms with moon cakes export.
Yang Yang

Time-honored food brands in Shanghai like Shen Da Cheng, Xinya and Gong De Lin have begun exporting their dim sum products in recent years. One of them, Xinya Food, experienced twists and turns while trying to export its moon cakes containing egg yolk to Australia.

To open its overseas market, Xinya Food, a time-honored food brand in Songjiang, got in touch with an Australian purchaser with rich supermarket resources in overseas Chinese neighborhoods. Flagship products of the company that sell well in the domestic market include moon cakes made of red bean paste, mixed nuts and shredded coconut. But according to the purchaser's feedback, local overseas Chinese are most fond of moon cakes with egg yolk.

After reviewing the feedback, the company decided to export egg yolk moon cakes to Australia, although no company in Shanghai had previously succeeded in exporting egg yolk moon cakes to Western countries.

The major problem was import restrictions in some countries. Quite a few of them reject or set high technical requirements for imported products that contain animal resources like egg yolk.

Whether to export their moon cakes or give up? Officials from the food company were in a fix.

At this critical moment, Songjiang Customs, after getting to know about the situation, launched a training class on export tips to food companies in the suburban district, including Xinya, Gong De Lin, Shen Da Cheng and Qiao Jia Shan.

Bakery temperature and time for domestically circulated Xinya moon cakes was 210 degrees Celsius and 15 minutes, whereas technical requirements in Australia are different. Customs officials then suggested the company to bake its egg yolks consistently for 30 minutes at 185 degrees Celsius to meet the requirements in Australia.

Xinya Food then adjusted its processing parameters and obtained a Customs permit after standards of their moon cakes met Customs' requirements.

"It is like Songjiang Customs is our endorser, and the local Australian Customs will only check that the goods variety meets standards and their appearance is intact," said Lu Yin, chief of product quality of Xinya Food.

The first standard container of Xinya's egg yolk moon cakes, after reaching Australia in mid-July, sold out upon reaching the market. The second batch was sent by the end of August.

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