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Food Safety Focus (31st Issue, February 2009) – Food Incident Highlight

The Rapid Alert System – A Rapid Means to Alert the Food Trade

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has been constantly monitoring food safety incidents from various overseas countries and areas and assessing their local public health implications. When local impact is possible, the CFS distributes the information to the trade promptly so that they can take actions in a timely manner.

The dissemination work was enhanced when the CFS started to pilot a Rapid Alert System (RAS) in September 2007. The RAS was officially launched on 1 February 2008 . Through this system, Rapid Alert messages are sent by a mass e-mail and fax system. The recipients may also receive a reminder through short message service (SMS) if their mobile telephone numbers are provided. Members of the food trade can sign up for the free service at the CFS website . The RAS now contains thousands of fax numbers and e-mail addresses.