The purpose of this guide is to provide general guidance for importers who wish to import frozen confections into Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, the legal framework of food safety control is laid down in Part V of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, Cap. 132 and its subsidiary legislation. A list of the subsidiary legislation is at Appendix. 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, Frozen Confections Regulation of the Ordinance stipulates requirements and standards for frozen confections.
Importers can purchase the main Ordinance and its subsidiary legislation from the Publications Sales Unit at Room 626, 6/F, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong. Importers may also browse the website ( https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/?_lang=en ) for the Hong Kong food legislation.
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is responsible for implementing territory-wide policies of food safety control and enforcing the food legislation. To this end, part of its duties is to exercise the power provided under Section 62(1) of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance to collect food samples at points of entry to the territory for analyses, including bacteriological and chemical examinations.
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department will pay the market price of any samples taken from importers. Due to difficulties in ascertaining the price 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 which have been taken. Importers could send an invoice and a copy of the notice afterwards to the Department for payment.
Food importers, through close liaison with exporting countries, are responsible for ensuring that frozen confections they procure comply with the local legislation. Importers should pay attention to the specific import procedures for these food products as set out below.
Application for Approval of Source of Manufacture
The Frozen Confections Regulation requires, inter alia, any frozen confection to be imported into Hong Kong from a source of manufacture that has been approved by the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene. Assistant Director (Food Surveillance and Control) of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department exercises the authority on behalf of the Director to make the approval. Before importing these food products into Hong Kong, importers need to apply to the Assistant Director (Food Surveillance and Control) in writing and provide the following information :
- the full name and address of the frozen confection processing plant;
- the law of the country of origin governing the production of frozen confections;
- empty containers or wrappers of the frozen confection with labels;
- information on the heat treatment method of the frozen confection and facilities, including production equipment and water supply, in the processing plant;
- a certificate from an appropriate authority in the country of origin for the purpose of -
- certifying the effectiveness and efficiency of the heat treatment method in sterilizing the frozen confection and that the products have been handled, processed and packed under hygienic conditions
- showing the chemical and bacteriological quality of the products; and
- details of ingredients, including colouring matters, stabilisers and sweeting agents, etc., and their amount in the frozen confection.
Arrival of Consignment
After obtaining the approval and satisfying other conditions which may be imposed by the Assistant Director (Food Surveillance and Control) of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, importers may import the frozen confections into Hong Kong. Section 59(1)(c) of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance provides the Department with the power to make special procedures for examining imported food. At present, when a frozen confection consignment arrives and before its release, the products will be inspected and if necessary, sampled by the Department. Upon the satisfaction of the Department, a "release letter" will be issued to the importer.
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department is determined to provide quality service to the public, including importers. In connection with the import of frozen confections, the Department pledges to :
- process applications for approval of a source of manufacture within 12 working days; and
- issue "release letters" within 21 working days upon receipt of notification of arrival or actual arrival of consignments, whichever is later.
Where to make applications or enquiries
Applications related to the import of frozen confections and payment of samples 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 . For enquiries, please feel free to call the Department's Chief Health Inspector (Import/Export) 6 at 2867 5990 or 24-hour hotline on food safety at 2868 0000.
Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department