Guide to import of beef, pork and mutton from European Union Member States
The purpose of this guide is to provide general guidance for importers who wish to import beef, pork and mutton from the European Union (EU) member states.
Since March 2015, EU has been exploring with the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) on the issue of “single market” recognition and the “born, raised and slaughtered in the same country” requirement. EU asked that all the EU member states should be treated as one single country in such export matters, since animal husbandry practices, slaughter and manufacture standards are all governed by the same EU rules.
Dual Purpose EU document, i.e. Export Declaration/Health Certificate
CFS has earlier agreed with EU to adopt the dual purpose EU document, i.e. EXPORT DECLARATION/HEALTH CERTIFICATE for replacing the current health certificate previously agreed with individual EU member states for importing beef, pork and mutton from those eligible EU member states.
Under Regulation 4(1) of the Imported Game, Meat, Poultry and Eggs Regulations, Cap. 132AK, no person shall import meat without a health certificate issued by an issuing entity of place of origin recognized by the Authority and according to Regulation 4(2), Cap. 132AK, meat may be imported without a health certificate subject to the permission in writing of a health officer and to such conditions as he may impose. That means, a health certificate can only be issued by an eligible EU member state where the animal was slaughtered. If the animal was slaughtered in a EU member state different from the eligible exporting EU member state, a health certificate cannot be issued. Instead, the eligible exporting EU member state must issue an Export Declaration and the importer in Hong Kong must obtain permission in writing from CFS of FEHD of Hong Kong before importing the consignment into Hong Kong.
Eligible EU member states are EU countries which have already established protocol with FEHD to export meat to Hong Kong and they must source food animals and their meat from the member states that have established import protocol with Hong Kong for that particular type of commodity.
Application for Permission in writing and Application Procedure
If importers wish to import beef, pork and mutton from eligible EU member states whereas the animal was slaughtered in a member state different from the exporting member state, they may download the application form FEHB 161 from website of FEHD or CFS to apply for the permission in writing.
The permission in writing is valid for six months from the date of issue and can be used for more than one shipment. No application fee is required and FEHD pledges to process applications within five working days.
Under the Import and Export Ordinance, Cap. 60, import of frozen or chilled beef, mutton, pork and poultry is subject to import licensing control. FEHD is responsible for issuing import licences for these foods. Thus, importers are also required to apply for import licence from FEHD for each consignment of imported beef, pork or mutton from eligible EU member states under the said arrangement.
Each imported consignment, when arrives in Hong Kong, must be accompanied by an/a EXPORT DECLARATION/HEALTH CERTIFICATE issued by relevant eligible exporting EU member state to certify the meat is fit for human consumption.
Time Table of the New Arrangement
The new arrangement was rolled out on 1 October 2017 and fully implemented on 1 December 2017.
As at 1 October to 30 November 2017, Hong Kong importers can make use of either the dual purpose EU document, i.e. EXPORT DECLARATION/HEALTH CERTIFICATE, or the health certificate previously agreed under the import protocol between CFS and individual EU member states for importing beef, pork and mutton derived from animals slaughtered, packed and exported by the same eligible EU member state.
The use of previously agreed health certificate will be ceased and replaced by the new dual purpose EU document, i.e. EXPORT DECLARATION/HEALTH CERTIFICATE from 1 December 2017.
Where to make applications or enquiries?
Applications related to the import of beef, pork and mutton from eligible EU member states under the said new arrangement should be addressed to CFS at 43/F, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. For enquiries, please feel free to call the Department’s Chief Health Inspector (Import & Export) 2 at 2867 5531 or other staff at 2867 5577.
Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department