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Proposed Amendments to the Food Adulteration (Metallic Contamination) Regulations

Proposed Amendments to the Food Adulteration (Metallic Contamination) Regulations


Metals are naturally present and ubiquitous in the environment. Metallic contaminants may enter the food supply chain through environmental contamination or during food production process. They may be present in food in trace amount. For ordinary adults, diet is one of the important sources of exposure to these metallic contaminants. The adverse health effects posed by metallic contaminants in food depend on the chemical nature, as well as the amount and duration of individual exposure, etc.

With a view to better protecting public health, facilitating effective regulation and promoting harmonisation between local and international standards, we propose to enhance and update the Food Adulteration (Metallic Contamination) Regulations (the Regulations).

Proposed Amendments to the Regulations

We propose to amend the Regulations along the following directions / principles:-

(a) to replace the existing generic food categories of “all food in solid / liquid form” with specific MLs targeting individual food / food groups, with a view to aligning with the Codex principle and modern international regulatory trends of specifying metallic contamination standards for individual food / food groups of significant dietary exposure;

(b) to adopt MLs established by Codex unless otherwise justified;

(c) to establish MLs for food / food groups which are of significance to the population in Hong Kong and which there is no relevant Codex MLs;

(d) to update the food descriptions and nomenclatures in the Regulations, with reference to the available Codex’s food descriptions and nomenclatures* or those of other jurisdictions as appropriate; and

(e) to incorporate interpretation of MLs into the Regulations, given that there is currently no interpretation in the Regulations on how the maximum permitted concentrations can be applied to food in a dried, dehydrated or concentrated form; as well as multi-ingredient products.

* For details regarding the Codex food classification and definitions of other food commodities, please refer to the website of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (http://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/standards/list-of-standards/en/). For example, canned food is generally referred to food products which are processed in an appropriate manner, before or after being hermetically sealed in a container.
  Regarding the Codex Classficiation of Foods and Animal Feeds (Second Edition) (CAC/MISC 4), the revised food classification adopted by Codex (e.g. the revised fruit classification adopted in 2012) has not been incorporated in the aforementioned food classification document.

Please refer to the documents below for the details of the proposed amendments to the Regulations:-

Relevant documents can also be obtained from the following locations –

  • Communication Resource Unit, CFS, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD)
    (8/F, Fa Yuen Street Municipal Services Building, 123A Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon);
  • District Environmental Hygiene Offices, FEHD; and
  • District Offices, Home Affairs Department

Please send your views by letter, facsimile or e-mail to the Centre for Food Safety on or before 5 September 2017. Details are as follows –

Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
43/F, Queensway Government Offices,
66 Queensway, Hong Kong.

Facsimile : (852) 2893 3547
E-mail address : metal_consultation@fehd.gov.hk

Public Forum

Public forums on the Proposed Amendments to the Food Adulteration (Metallic Contamination) Regulations will be arranged.





Session 1

11 July 2017

Assembly Hall, 2/F,
Lai Chi Kok Government Offices,
19 Lai Wan Road, Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon

Public and all stakeholders

Session 2

11 August 2017

Lecture Theatre, G/F,
Hong Kong Central Library,
66 Causeway Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Public and all stakeholders

If you wish to attend the public forum, please complete and return the attached enrolment form to Communication Resource Unit of Centre for Food Safety by fax at 2787 3638 or email to lmtam@fehd.gov.hk. Seats are limited. Acceptance of registration is on a first-come-first-served basis. The forum will be conducted in Cantonese (Simultaneous English interpretation will be provided). Please call the Communication Resource Unit of the Centre for Food Safety at 2381 6096 during office hours for any enquiries on the public forum.

Typhoon and Adverse Weather Arrangement

  • The forum will be cancelled if typhoon signal No. 8 or above OR black rainstorm warning is still hoisted (or is announced by the Hong Kong Observatory to be hoisted) 4 hours or less before the commencement of the event.
  • If the typhoon signal pre-No. 8 or the typhoon signal No. 8 or above is hoisted during the event, the forum will be terminated immediately.
  • If the Hong Kong Observatory announces the black rainstorm warning is to be hoisted or is hoisted during the forum, programmes already in progress will continue.
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Last Revision Date : 27-06-2017