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CFS conducts briefing for trade on Food Safety Order

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) conducted today (September 18) a briefing session for the food trade to explain the requirements of the Food Safety Ordinance (the Ordinance) and the Food Safety Order (the Order) issued following the Taiwan "substandard lard" incident.

     In view of the recent Taiwan "substandard lard" incident, the Director of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department issued the Food Safety Order (www.gld.gov.hk/egazette/pdf/20141826e/egn2014182629.pdf) on September 14, prohibiting from importing into and supplying within Hong Kong all lard/lard products produced by Chang Guann Co., Ltd in Taiwan on or after March 1, 2014 (including but not limited to the products specified in Annex A of the Order) and all food products made with those lard/lard products. As such, the CFS conducted a briefing session on the requirements of the Ordinance and the Order for the food trade.

     According to the Food Safety Ordinance, any person who, in the course of business, imports, acquires or supplies by wholesale food in Hong Kong shall keep transaction records of the business to which it has supplied the food and the business from which it has acquired the food. The Ordinance also requires the trade to present such transaction records for inspection by the Director of the Food and Environmental Hygiene as and when necessary.

     The CFS reminds the trade to keep their food transaction records systematically and should present them within a specified time for inspection by the Director of the Food and Environmental Hygiene as and when necessary, for instance, in case of major food incident. In order to enhance the communication mechanism between the CFS and the trade, the CFS suggests the trade set up an emergency hotline to enable the establishment of immediate contact so that the CFS could obtain information required to better safeguard food safety.

     Any person who does not register but carries on a food importation or distribution business commits an offence and is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months. It is an offence for those who fail to comply with the record-keeping requirement, provide import or supply records for inspection by the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene or recklessly include in a record information that is false. Offenders are subject to the maximum penalty of a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for three months upon conviction.

     At the briefing today, some members of the trade remarked that they have encountered difficulties after the issuance of the Order. However, they actively responded to the call of the Government, stopped the use of the concerned lard/lard products and recalled these products. They hope the incident can be settled as soon as possible.

     In response to concerns of consumers over the health risk of consuming lard related products, the CFS reinstates that according to existing information from the Taiwanese authorities and the reported analytical test results from the CFS (including benzo[a]pyrene, aflatoxins and metallic contaminants), the risk assessment from the CFS showed that the food safety risk might be increased if consuming the specified food. However, the risk is considered to be not high and there is no cause for undue concern.

     The CFS will conduct another briefing session for the food trade on September 24 (Wednesday). Details as follows:

Date:     September 24, 2014 (Wednesday)
Time:     2.30pm
Venue:    Assembly Hall, 2/F, Lai Chi Kok Government Offices,
          19 Lai Wan Road, Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon
Language: Cantonese
Enquiry:  2381 6096 or 2381 6965

     Interested representatives from the food trade are welcome to attend the briefing. For details of the briefing and the enrolment form, please login to the CFS' website below:
www.cfs.gov.hk/english/trade_zone/trade_zone_Trade_Briefing_Session_on_24.9.2014.html .

Ends/Thursday, September 18, 2014

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Last revision date: 18-09-2014