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.
"Food importer" means a person who carries on a business which brings or causes to be brought any food into Hong Kong by air, land or sea.
"Food distributor" means a person who carries on a business of which the principal activity is wholesale supply of food in Hong Kong. This also includes in general food producers (like fish/vegetables farmers and fishermen) and food manufacturers who supply their products by wholesale.
Exemption from the registration requirement
Food importers or food distributors who have already registered or have obtained a licence under other ordinances (listed at Schedule 1 of the Food Safety Ordinance) are exempted from the registration requirement. They include holders of various food-related permits or licences issued by DFEH, marine fish farmers licensed with the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, owners of Class III vessels licensed with the Director of Marine, and stockholders of rice registered with the Director-General of Trade and Industry.
Although the above food importers and food distributors are exempted from the registration requirement, they are still required, upon request of DFEH in writing, to provide supplementary information.
Online food importer/food distributor
Any person directly engaged in the transaction of importing/distributing food and has acquired the food, whether through electronic or other means, is regarded as a food importer/food distributor. For the purpose of the Ordinance, food is acquired when the person acquiring it takes possession or control of the food, even though the food may not be under his custody.