PUTRAJAYA - China has not imposed any ban on the import of bird's nests from Malaysia, said Deputy Agriculture Minister Chua Tee Yong.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) in China had confirmed this to the Malaysia agriculture counsellor's office in Beijing, he said.
"There are some quarters who had been spreading rumours that China had banned the import. This is not true," he said yesterday.
He added that AQSIQ would routinely conduct sampling tests on imported bird's nests at the entry point of China, and reject the importation of such products if the items did not comply with local standards.
"The recent result of sampling tests on bird's nests from Malaysia showed that some samples did not comply with the local standard level of nitrite in China which is zero, and these samples were rejected by China," he said.
The ministry, added Chua, would meet the Chinese trade counsellor in Malaysia to find an amicable solution to the issue.
Chua said the acceptance level of nitrite in bird's nest in Malaysia is 30ppm (part per million) which is based on the edible bird's nest specification, and is in line with the Food Regulations Act 1985.
He said the Veterinary Department had made a concerted effort to streamline the development of the bird's nest industry in Malaysia.
"We are in the process of producing a guideline book to formulate rules, regulations and laws of the various government agencies in ranching and processing edible bird's nest.
"This is to transform the industry into a structured and sustainable income-generating activity," he said.
Chua said China imported about RM1 billion (S$402 million) in bird's nest products and was the biggest importer of the item.