The purpose of this guide is to provide general guidance for importers who wish to import food into Hong Kong.

Statutory Requirements

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.

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 take food samples at points of entry to the territory for various kinds of tests, including microbiological examinations and chemical analyses.

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department will pay the market price of any food 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 food items they procure comply with the local legislation. To help ensure hygienic standards of food, importers are encouraged to obtain health certificates issued by issuing entities of countries of origin to accompany their imports certifying that the food products concerned are fit for human consumption. The Food Safety Ordinance (Chapter 612) has commenced its full operation on 1 February 2012. Sections 4 and 5 of the Ordinance require any person who carries on a food importation/ distribution business to register with Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene (DFEH) as a food importer/ food distributor.

Registration scheme for food importers and food distributors

Requirements or arrangements for selected food items

There are specific legal requirements or administrative arrangements for the import of the following selected food items due to their perishable or high-risk nature -

(a) game, meat, poultry and eggs;
(b) milk and milk beverages;
(c) frozen confections; and
(d) marine products.

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has prepared individual leaflets advising on the proper procedures for importing the above food items respectively.

Where to collect leaflets and make applications or enquiries

The leaflets mentioned in paragraph 8 can be collected at the Centre for Food Safety of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department at 43/F, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. Applications for payment of samples should be made to the same address. For enquiries, please contact the Food Import and Export Section (Tel: 2867 5577) or 1823 Government Hotline. Enquiries may also be sent to the e-mail address: fsc@fehd.gov.hk or by fax at 2521 4784.

Gudie to Import of Food into Hong KongCentre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department