The purpose of this guide is to provide general guidance for importers who wish to import Mainland chilled chickens* into Hong Kong.
Statutory Requirements for Food Safety
In Hong Kong, the legal framework for control of food safety is laid down in Part V of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (PHMSO), Cap. 132 and its subsidiary legislation. The basic requirement, as stipulated in Section 54 of the Ordinance, is that no food intended for sale should be unfit for human consumption. Specifically, Imported Game, Meat, Poultry and Eggs Regulations (IGMPER) of the Ordinance stipulate requirements for import of such foods i.e. Mainland chilled chicken.
Import Permission in Writing
Importers who wish to import chilled chickens from the Mainland are required to obtain prior import permission in writing from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (the Department). Application should be made in the form at Appendix I and all relevant details should be provided at the time of application. The import permission in writing issued by the Department is usually valid for 6 months.
The chilled chickens must come from Mainland processing plants approved by the Department. A list of approved plants is at Appendix II.
Regulation 4(3)(b) of the IGMPER allows the Department to impose conditions related to the import of game, meat , poultry, eggs or prohibited meat for the protection of public health. The import of Mainland chilled chickens is subject to compliance with conditions set out in Appendix III. From time to time, the Department will review such import conditions to ensure that latest developments are incorporated to ensure food safety. Any importer who fails to comply with the condition(s) is liable to legal action. Besides, the import permission in writing granted may be invalidated and/or imported chilled chickens can be rejected.
One condition is that chilled chickens must be transported by a vehicle which has been approved by the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene. The approval of vehicle for transporting Mainland chilled chickens shall be subject to compliance with conditions as contained in Appendix IV. In this connection, the importer should apply for approval in the form at Appendix V.
Under the Import and Export Ordinance, Cap. 60, import of frozen or chilled beef, mutton, pork and poultry is subject to import licensing control. The Department is responsible for issuing import licences for these foods. Thus, importers of Mainland chilled chicken are also required to apply for import licence from the Department for each consignment of chilled chickens. For details of such application, please refer to the "Guide to Application for Import Licence for Frozen Meat, Chilled Meat, Frozen Poultry and Chilled Poultry" issued by the Department. The guide can be browsed at the Department's website.
Arrival of Consignment
Under regulation 4(3)(b) of the IGMPER, the Department will require chilled chickens from the Mainland to enter into Hong Kong through designated border crossing at Man Kam To if the import is via land, or Hong Kong International Airport if by air, or Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Food Market or Western Wholesale Food Market if by sea. At these checkpoints, the food concerned shall be subject to inspection by the Department.
The Department can exercise its power provided under section 62(1) of the PHMSO to collect food samples at points of entry to the territory for various food safety analyses, including microbiological and chemical tests.
The Department will pay market prices for any samples taken from importers. Due to difficulties in ascertaining prices at entry points, the Department will issue a sampling notice to importers when samples are collected. The notice will specify items and quantities of food samples taken. Afterwards, importers could send an invoice and a copy of the notice to the Department for settlement of payment.
The Department is determined to provide quality service to the public, including importers, and pledges to process applications for import permission in writing of chilled chickens within 5 working days if all required details are in hand.
Applications and Enquiries
Applications related to the import of Mainland chilled chickens should be addressed to the Centre for Food Safety of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department at 43/F, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong or by fax to 2521 4784. For related enquiries, please call Chief Health Inspector (Import/Export)2 at 2867 5531 or other staff at 2867 5517.
*The"chilled chickens" in this Guide refer to the chickens which had been subject to the pre-chilling process immediately after slaughtering and are kept at a temperature between 0℃ and 4℃.
Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department