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Grace period for food preservatives regulation to end on June 30

A two-year transitional period for compliance with Preservatives in Food (Amendment) Regulation 2008 will end on June 30 this year, a spokesman for the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) said today (May 30).

The Amendment Regulation makes the control of preservatives and antioxidants clearer, benefits the trade and consumers with more choices, and harmonises the local standards with international developments. The Amendment Regulation came into effect on July 1, 2008. To allow sufficient time for the members of the food trade to prepare for the changes, a transitional period of two years has been given.

During the transitional period, it is legal for any food item to comply with the relevant standards in either the Preservatives in Food Regulations or the Amendment Regulation. With the repeal of the former regulations on July 1 this year, all food must comply with the amended regulation. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and six months' imprisonment.

Under the Amendment Regulation, four major changes have been made. They include revising the definition of preservative and antioxidant, changing the number and maximum permitted levels of permitted preservatives and antioxidants, merging the lists of permitted preservatives and antioxidants under Part I and Part II of the First Schedule of the former regulations, and introduction of a food category system. Details are available at the CFS's website (www.cfs.gov.hk)
  
The spokesman said there would also be 11 new types of permitted preservatives and antioxidants, while the maximum permitted levels for the existing permitted individual preservatives or antioxidants might be unchanged, relaxed or tightened. Meanwhile, attention is drawn to the fact that propyl para-hydroxybenzoate, one kind of preservative, and its alternative form, propyl para-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt are no longer permitted to be used.

The CFS issued the relevant user guidelines in 2008 to assist the trade to have a better understanding of the amended regulation.

Ends/Sunday, May 30, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:01

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Last revision date:30-05-2010