In recent years, there have been media reports of food products with false description. Some examples were counterfeit rice, counterfeit oranges, fake crocodile meat, and horse meat sold as beef. What is the role of Centre for Food Safety (CFS) in this type of incidents?
The CFS is responsible for ensuring that food for sale in Hong Kong is fit for human consumption. The CFS carries out regulatory and enforcement work in accordance with the provisions on food safety, food standards and labelling requirements under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132) and its subsidiary legislation.# Besides, consumers are protected by the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (Cap. 362) which prohibit false trade descriptions and misstatements in respect of goods provided in the course of trade. The Customs & Excise Department (C&ED) is responsible for enforcing the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. The CFS is ready to collaborate and support if the situation warrants.
#Some of the relevant provisions are listed below:.
- According to Section 54 of Cap. 132, any person who sells any food unfit for human consumption shall be guilty of an offence.
- Under Section 52 of Cap. 132, if any person sells to the prejudice of a purchaser any food which is not of the nature, or not of the substance, or not of the quality, of the food demanded by the purchaser, he shall be guilty of an offence.
- Under Section 61 of Cap. 132, if any person falsely describes the food or misleads as to the nature of the food on a label of the food sold by him, he shall be guilty of an offence.
- Section 4A of the Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulations (Cap. 132W) stipulates that prepackaged food shall be marked and labelled in the prescribed manner. The food name or designation so marked and labelled shall not be false, misleading or deceptive in any respect as to the nature of the food.