Beijing: Millions of Chinese living abroad will have to go without the traditional homemade mooncakes for Monday's mid-autumn festival as over 34 countries have refused to allow the pastries to pass through as they failed to meet the required food standards.
Over 34 countries, refused to allow Chinese mooncakes sent through the mail to pass their borders, essentially banning the delicacy which symbolises the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated by the Chinese globally.
The list of countries that refuse mooncakes sent by post includes Asian, European, American and African nations, ranging from Germany and France to the Philippines and Sudan, where tens of thousands of Chinese live, it said.
Mooncakes are traditional gifts for beloved ones and are necessities for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The round mooncakes resemble the full moon, a symbol of family reunion in traditional Chinese culture as well as the major theme of the Mid-Autumn Festival. This year's Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 12.
But many Chinese found themselves unable to mail the traditional cakes to their relatives or friends living in those countries due to the bans.
Thirty-four countries have already refused the entry of moon cakes sent by post and another 30-plus countries have established rigid checks for moon cakes to pass through, according to entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureaus, the report said.
Those countries have strict inspection standards for imported food, especially for stuffed baked goods like moon cakes, Wu Shuo, an official with the Inspection and Quarantine Bureau in Zhongshan City of Guangdong, said.
The ban on posted moon cakes is the result of different food inspection standards.
For example, Europe has a stricter standard on aflatoxins than China, Wu said.
Peng Peng, a researcher with the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, however, believes the inspection systems of foreign countries are not fully equipped to examine mooncakes.