The Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulations have been improved as part of the government's ongoing efforts to enhance food safety for the protection of public health. The Amendment Regulation was made with reference to the recommendations of Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), the international authority for setting food related standards. Amendments made include:
- Declaration of any of the eight types of substances which are known to cause allergy in some individuals, if present , in the list of ingredients of pre-packaged food. These substances are: cereals containing gluten; crustacean and crustacean products; eggs and egg products; fish and fish products; peanuts, soybeans and their products; milk and milk products (lactose included); tree nuts and nut products; and sulphite in concentrations of 10 parts per million or more.
- Listing of additives used by the functional class and specific name or the identification number under the International Numbering System for Food Additives.
- Where the marking of the "best before" or "use by" date is shown in Arabic numerals, the present restriction on the marking sequence for the year, month and day have been lifted to make it more flexible to the trade. To make it clearer to consumers, the exact sequence of the date has to be clearly declared in both Chinese character and English lettering.
- Drinks with an alcoholic strength by volume of more than 1.2% but less than 10% as determined under section 53 of the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance (Cap. 109) are exempted from all labelling requirements except for indication of durability. Wines, liqueur wines, sparkling wines, aromatized wines, fruit wines, sparkling fruit wines and other drinks with an alcoholic strength by volume of 10% or more remain to be exempt from all labelling requirements.
- Restrictions on the inclusion of additives in condensed or evaporated milk and butter have been relaxed.
The Amendment Regulation was first published in the Gazette on 14 May 2004 as Legal Notice No. 85 of 2004 and tabled in the Legislative Council on 19 May 2004. Subsequent amendments were made and passed by the Legislative Council on 9 July 2004.
To allow the trade more time to adapt to the changes brought forward by the Amendment Regulation, a grace period of 36 months has been allowed as from 9 July 2004. Enforcement actions by the Administration on the new provisions will be taken on and after 9 July 2007. However, the relaxation of control over additives in condensed or evaporated milk and butter took effect on 9 July 2004. We are now preparing a set of guidelines to assist the trade to comply with the Amendment Regulation.
You may browse the website at: https://www.elegislation.gov.hk for details of the amended Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulation (Cap. 132W). For more details about food related standards and International Numbering System for Food Additives , please browse the following website:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations