The purpose of this guide is to provide general guidance for importers who wish to import game, meat, poultry and eggs into Hong Kong.
Statutory Requirements for Food Safety
2. In Hong Kong, the legal framework of food safety control is laid down in Part V of Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (PHMSO), Cap. 132 and its subsidiary legislation. A list of the subsidiary legislation is at Appendix A. 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, Imported Game, Meat, Poultry and Eggs Regulations (IGMPER) of the Ordinance stipulate requirements for import of such foods.
3. 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
4. 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 PHMSO to collect food samples at points of entry to the territory for analyses, including microbiological examinations and chemical analyses.
5. 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.
6. Under the Import and Export Ordinance, Cap. 60, import of frozen or chilled beef, mutton, pork and poultry is subject to import licensing control. Food and Environmental Hygiene Department is responsible for issuing import licences for these foods. For details, please refer to the "Guide to Application for Import Licence for Frozen Meat, Chilled Meat, Frozen Poultry and Chilled Poultry" issued by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
7. Food importers, through close liaison with exporting countries, are responsible for ensuring that game, meat, poultry and eggs they procure comply with the local legislation. To ensure hygienic standards of the foods, specific import procedures have been made for these foods as set out in paragraphs 8 to 12 below. 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.
Import of Meat, Poultry or Eggs
8. Regulation 4(1)(a) of IGMPER requires meat , poultry or eggs to be imported with a health certificate issued by an issuing entity recognised by Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene. A list of these issuing entities is at Appendix B. If importers wish to import meat , poultry or eggs from a country/place where the issuing entity responsible for issuing health certificates is yet to be recognised as an issuing entity, they should ask the relevant issuing entity or government to apply to Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in writing and provide the following information related to its country:
- the animal disease situation;
- the legislation governing hygienic standards of meat, poultry or eggs;
- the location of processing plants and facilities for handling, processing, production, storage and transport of meat, poultry or eggs;
- details of inspection of meat or poultry in the ante and post-mortem process and qualifications of officers responsible for the inspection process;
- a sample of the official veterinary and health certificate; and
- the official name of the issuing entity responsible for issuing veterinary and health certificates.
Import of Prohibited Meat or Game
9. Regulation 4(1)(b) of IGMPER requires prior approval of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department before the import of each consignment of prohibited meat or game. In making an application for approval, importers should write to the Department by providing similar information as set out in paragraphs 8 (a) to (f) but pertaining to prohibited meat or game obtained from the government of the place of origin.
Transhipment of meat, poultry or eggs
10. Regulation 4(3)(b) of IGMPER allows the Department to impose directions related to the import of game, meat, poultry or eggs. At present, importers should make an application in writing to the Department before each consignment of transhipped meat, poultry or eggs is imported. In making the application, the following information should be provided:
- a health certificate issued by an issuing entity; and
- when meat , poultry or eggs is not conveyed in a sealed refrigerated container, a transhipment certificate issued by an authority having the power under the laws in force in the place outside Hong Kong showing the meat , poultry or eggs was properly imported into that country/place and, during its stay there, did not suffer any spoilage or deterioration.
Arrival of Consignment
11. Under the power provided by Regulation 4(3)(b) of IGMPER, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department requires all game, meat, poultry and eggs to be entered through Man Kam To checkpoint if the import is via land, or the International Airport of Hong Kong if the import is via air. At these checkpoints, the food concerned may be subject to inspection or sampling by the Department. If the import is via sea, the importers may be required, if circumstances warrant, to keep the game, meat or poultry at a licensed cold store or a registered cold storage for inspection or sampling. If the result is satisfactory, the Department will issue a "release letter" to the importer. For the list of licensed cold stores, please refer to Appendix I to "Guide to Application for Import Licence for Frozen Meat, Chilled Meat, Frozen Poultry and Chilled Poultry".
12. Food and Environmental Hygiene Department is determined to provide quality service to the public, including importers, and pledges to process applications for the import of game, meat, poulty or eggs within 5 working days.
Where to make applications or enquiries?
13. Applications related to the import of game, meat, poultry and eggs 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 contact the Food Import and Export Section (Tel: 2867 5577) or 1823 Government Hotline. Enquiries may also be sent to the e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax at 2521 4784.
* The word "chilled" in this Guide refers to the pre-chilling process of food with subsequent storage at a temperature between 0℃ and 4℃ .
Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department