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How to Import Fresh Vegetables from China – Garlic/Ginger/Carrots

This blog title intrigued you, and you visited the page because you are looking for some authentic and thoroughly researched information about importing food products. You might also need clarification on which country is reliable for importing vegetable products.

 To answer this query, we highly recommend that you choose China for importing fresh vegetables. But why China?

China is home to many large-scale farms that can produce large quantities of vegetables. Moreover, Chinese vegetables are generally very affordable, which makes them a great option for importers on a budget.

So if you, too, want to source vegetables especially garlic, ginger, carrots, tomatoes, etc., this blog is for you! In this blog, we’ll tell you how to source vegetables securely from China and which things to consider.


Chapter 1. Overview of the Chinese Vegetable Market

The Chinese vegetable market is one of the most vibrant and exciting markets in the world. From the humble beginnings of a few farmers selling their produce at a local market, the Chinese vegetable market has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry that spans the globe.

Today, the Chinese vegetable market is a major player in the global food industry, supplying a wide variety of vegetables to countries all over the world. The market is also a major source of employment for millions of people, both in China and in the countries where the vegetables are grown and sold.

The Chinese vegetable market is a fascinating and complex industry and one that is constantly evolving. It is an essential part of the global food system and one that is sure to continue to grow in importance in the years to come.

1) Why should You Import from China?

China is one of the best and most reliable options for importing food products. The country has maintained its position and reputation for importing the most considerable amount of products worldwide since 2009. In 2021, China surpassed all previous records by exporting $55.05 billion worth of agricultural products to other Asian countries and states. In the same year, it shipped a considerable amount of farm products to Hong Kong, costing almost $10.6 billion.

As the most incredible product exporter, China exports innumerable products worth more than $2 trillion annually. The primary reason behind the heroic success of China is its efficient factories and trustworthy suppliers who produce and supply quality products at reasonable prices.

China utilizes its labor force at its best and manages to manufacture almost all types of products at a low cost. Moreover, its government also imposes low custom duty charges on the suppliers. Therefore, they set fair prices for the importers to encourage country exports.

However, if you have decided to open a Chinese restaurant in your country, importing fresh food products from China is the best option. China-imported vegetables would ultimately help you engage more customers as they will feel the real China native taste.

2) Which Vegetables can You Import from China?

You can import several fresh vegetables from China. The majority of foreign importers order the following tastier and most loved fresh vegetables from China;

  • Garlic

  • Ginger

  • Carrots

  • Chinese Brocolli or Chinese kale
  • Tat soi
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Chinese mustards
  • Bok Choy or Spoon Cabbage

  • Chinese radishes or Lo bok
  • Chinese spinach or Red Amaranth
  • Chinese long beans
  • Snow peas
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplants
  • Bitter Melons
  • Winter Melons

  • Chinese okra or luffa

3) What are the FDA Requirements for Vegetables to be Imported from China?

It is mandatory for each food factory, cuisine, and company dealing with food products to require FDA (Food and Drug Administration) registration. A mark that reads “Approved by FDA” is crucial for every food product processed through the food additives regulations.

Different food items follow varied requirements when imported from China. FDA’s website contains various food requirements. You can go through all the criteria to identify the specific needs for your food items, such as vegetables.

Food products must comply with the following crucial FDA requirements and programs for the vegetables to be imported from China;

  • ATPCP (Accredited Third-Party Certification Program).

It is a voluntary program through which FDA identifies “accreditation bodies” that will be liable for accrediting third-party certification units.

  • VQIP (Voluntary Qualified Importer Program)
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A voluntary fee-based program features reviews of food products imported from China to the US. Consumers and importers participate in this program for their benefit.

  • FSVP (Foreign Supplier Verification program)

This program directs the imports to check out and ensure that their Chinese vegetable suppliers fulfill essential FDA requirements.

  • MCP ( Manual of Compliance Policy)

Compliance policy guides include the policies and industry regulations for FDA staff to check when enforcing industry compliance.

  • HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point)

It is a management system to ensure food safety by conducting hazard analysis checks from raw materials to final food products. The system analysis confirms that vegetables are free from biological, chemical, and physical hazards.

Prior notice of imported food products allows the importing countries to conduct efficient inspections and take appropriate safety measures for imported vegetables. This step helps to secure a country’s vegetable supply from terrorists and other enemies of that nation.

4) Which Containers are Used when Importing Vegetables from China?


Suppliers and importers prefer reefer containers to ship delicate food products like vegetables and fruits. Reefer containers, also termed refrigerated containers, are the most appropriate and practicable containers, especially for shipping products that require adequate temperature and humidity control facilities.

Reefer containers are exceptionally beneficial and safe for transporting food products like fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and dairy.

Specifications of a Reefer Container:

A reefer container has the following excellent features that ensure the safe transportation of fresh food products like fruits and vegetables;

Maintains the ideal temperature.

A reefer or refrigerated container has an excellent temperature control system. It can maintain the internal temperature from +25° C to -25° C as per the requirement to keep the vegetables fresh and healthy. However, some unique containers also can bring down the temperature to an extremely low -70° C.

Reefer containers include an electronic device to record the temperature. The device is known as a microprocessor. It detects and stores data like supply air temperature, return air temperature, defrost activity, cargo probe temperatures, and power on and off time.

A refrigeration unit is also installed to maintain a specific optimal temperature suitable for the vegetables. Optimal transport temperature is essential to ensure the excellent quality and shelf life of vegetables and fruits.

Includes dehumidification function.

Different vegetables have varying humidity requirements depending upon their delicacy and weather conditions. Some vegetables require a chilled environment to stay fresh, and some thrive best in a moderately humid atmosphere.

For this purpose, a reefer unit has a dehumidification function to adjust the humidity and attain an environment favorable for particular vegetables. The standard relative humidity (RH) values are between 60% and 80%. In contrast, some new units can achieve a 50% humidity level.

Proper Built-in drainage system.

Reefer containers also include a befitting built-in drainage system to drain and waste excess water accumulated inside the container. The unique drains prevent dirt, water, and pests like insects from entering the containers.


Chapter 2. What are the Safety and Quality Standards for Vegetables Imported from China?

Safety and quality standards have central importance for importers buying vegetables from China.

Inspection officials pass the vegetable inspection and issue a plant quarantine certificate if the vegetables and other food items fulfill Chinese requirements. They verify and assess the following vegetable safety and quarantine requirements;

  • Cold treatment records for vegetables requiring freezing treatment during transportation.
  • Fruits not mentioned in the plant quarantine certificate should not be mixed in packings with other vegetables.
  • The packing box should include the name of the vegetables, the place of origin, and the name of the packing factory written in English or Chinese.
  • The packing box should not include pests, soil, rotten leaves, waste roots, and other plant residues.
  • Vegetables should not contain harmful substances exceeding China’s safety and health standards.

Imported vegetable products from china must comply with the following quality standards and custom clearance procedures;

1) Complete Quality Check of Vegetables before Shipment.


The customs clearance of imported vegetables must go through proper quality checks and safety inspections in exporting countries before shipment. Foreign official inspection and quarantine institutions conduct quality checks and ensure the appropriate safety of vegetables to be imported.

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2) Inspection and Verification of Port Custom Documents.

The custom staff review and verifies the permits and certificates of quality inspection and quarantine when the vegetables arrive at the port. They conduct an on-site inspection to check whether the vegetable quality meets the required food specifications. They also perform inspections to detect that vegetable packing boxes do not have waste plant residues and pests.

3) Issuance of Inspection and Quarantine Certificate.

When the vegetables on board for importation to other countries from China pass the inspection and quarantine test, inspectors issue an inspection and quarantine certificate.  The quarantine certificate is a permission document to allow the imported vegetable to be released in the country’s local vegetable market.

However, if the officials identify the vegetables infested with pests, they shall be treated with pesticides before allowing them to be available for sale in the local market.

4) Check out Requirements for Customers.

Customers can distinguish the authenticity of vegetables imported from China in two different steps;

  • First, they need to check the labels on vegetable packaging. As per the relevant regulations, the packaging boxes must have labels indicating the registration number or name of the place of origin or packaging factory. The customers can read the label information to understand whether the vegetables have been imported from a registered enterprise.
  • Second, review the certificates to check if the fruits pass the inspection and quarantine process before shipment at the port. Customs only issue such certifications if the vegetables to be imported from China fulfill the required safety and quality measures.

Chapter 3. How to Find the Best Local Supplier in China?

Are you a first-time importer and concerned about importing from China? Take a chill pill because China is the world’s biggest product-exporting country, worth 2 Trillion every year. You can get every vegetable you’re looking for at a wholesale price with a remarkable margin ratio. However, your brand must find a local supplier for it.

Local suppliers and manufacturers help your brand get the best deal. You can find these local suppliers in both online and offline marketplaces. In this chapter, EJET will discuss all prerequisites to finding the best local supplier in China. Check it out below.

1) Visiting the Market Physically

The first way to grab a local vegetable supplier in China is by visiting the market physically. Offline markets are way more lucrative than online purchases. It not only gets you a reliable supplier but also allows you to do a quality inspection. You can check the quality of samples with the naked eye, which helps you decide better.

Along with that, it also helps your brand to negotiate better. You can visit as many suppliers as you want with hundreds of vegetable merchants. Take quotes from each of them and negotiate further. Resultantly, you’ll find a reliable local vegetable supplier.

2) Exhibitions

The following way to find a local vegetable supplier in China is by visiting exhibitions. China exhibits products to a significant extent throughout the country, allowing suppliers to showcase their vegetables. Chinese exhibitions offer everything you’re looking for, and the vegetable variety is immense.

You can physically inspect the vegetable quality and packaging standards to ship worldwide. Local suppliers in exhibitions give you competitive price vegetables due to the presence of hundreds of local suppliers. That said, visit famous Chinese exhibitions like the Canton fair in Guangzhou held in April.

There you can get hundreds of suppliers selling vegetables.

3) Hiring a Source Agent

If you’ve never been to China before or have little knowledge about Chinese wholesale market operations, then hiring a sourcing agent is a viable option. Chinese wholesale market offers source agents that help you meet your requirements. You can hire a sourcing agent, and he/she will take you across the local agents.

They also help you communicate as a translator to native Chinese sellers. You can quote your price to them, and they’ll negotiate with the seller on your behalf. Above all, sourcing agents help you receive stock safely and hassle-free.

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So if you, too, want to hire an experienced sourcing agent from China, EJET is your best bet. Why? We will help you find the best and most reasonable wholesale supplier from China and ensure the shipment meets all the FDA regulations and customs duties. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our sourcing consultant Sunny Qiu.


4) Online Marketplaces

Alibaba and AliExpress are the largest online wholesale marketplaces in China. You can get everything on these virtual marketplaces. You will find a local supplier of every product, from electronics to gadgets, garments, furniture, automobile, vegetables, and eateries. Just name the products, and the results will display a list of suppliers dealing with them.

Finding a local vegetable supplier on Alibaba requires a little effort. You have to visit the profile of available sellers and go through their customer feedback. See how the people in the past felt about trading with the supplier.

  • Check the verification badge of the supplier
  • Check customer feedback
  • Analyze their rating
  • Try to talk with previous clients

Chapter 4. FAQs about Fresh Vegetables from China


1) Do you need FDA approval to import food from China?

The food & Drug Administration is an organization operating in the USA that approves all imported consuming items across the country. So if you’re importing vegetables from the Chinese wholesale market, you have to get approval from FDA before receiving them.

FDA inspects all the vegetables and other eatable items critically and ensures the end-consumer is getting safe and healthy products.

2) Are vegetables from China safe?

Since the pandemic originated in China, it has become a concern of every health organization in the US to check whether imported vegetables are safe or not. However, vegetables grow naturally, so there is little chance of hazardous ingredients.

Therefore, vegetables imported from China are safe and healthy to eat. So if you’re importing, feel free to do so.

3) How to prevent food safety hazards while importing from China?

Here are the following ways to prevent food safety hazards while importing from China.

  • Checking hygiene in all the stock by checking appropriate measures to prepare food.
  • Ensuring that packaging is done considering all safety aspects.
  • By checking whether the food has been sprayed chemically or not.

4) What are the primary documents required to import vegetables from China?

Here is the list of documents required to import vegetables from China,

  • The FDA approval letter
  • A submission report to get prior permission
  • A detailed invoice including vegetable price, quantity, HTC code, and date
  • A custom bond to ensure the taxes will be paid to certified authorities like CBP
  • Also includes shipment information such as weight description, dimensions, size, and invoice numbers.

5) How to ship vegetables from China?

Shipping vegetables is a matter of concern for every retailer. To prevent objections, you must ensure the packaging standards meet all the FDA regulations. Here are the best ways to make shipments, Air Freight, Sea Freight, and Express Shipping

6) Can you stock vegetables from china to Amazon FBA?

Yes, a local Chinese supplier will help you stock vegetables for Amazon FBA. But you need to make sure that your supplier is reliable and provides high-quality products.


Vegetables are a fundamental necessity of every human; therefore, the dire need for this product will always be there. This explains how lucrative this category is for retailers to do enormous business. You can hook all the online audience quickly, and it helps you get a significant profit margin. However, finding a local supplier to stock vegetables is always daunting.

China is the biggest wholesale exporting country worldwide and finding a reliable local supplier could struggle for startup brands.

The ways mentioned above are tested and reliable to perform. However, online market suppliers could be found easily; it would be better to hunt by visiting offline markets. It not only helps you find a viable solution but also allows you to inspect the vegetable quality. Hope this would’ve been a worthwhile read.

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