To Licensees/Operators of food premises:
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation has taken effect since 6:00 p.m. on 28 March 2020. For detailed instructions of the Regulation, please visit here.
The following are resources available to food industry members and consumers on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and food safety. For more information on COVID-19, clarifications and updates on the pandemic, please visit www.coronavirus.gov.hk.
Advice to Consumers
According to the current scientific knowledge, there is no evidence indicating that human can be infected by COVID-19 via food. Food safety assessment authorities in overseas countries including the European Union, Australia and New Zealand considered that it is unlikely that COVID-19 can be transmitted to human via food. Nevertheless, according to the recommendations from the World Health Organization, the Centre for Food Safety reminds the public to pay attention to the followings:
- Always keep hands clean, particularly after handling raw food, after going to toilet and before eating. Rub hands with liquid soap for at least 20 seconds when washing;
- Handle raw and cooked food separately, pay special attention when handling raw meat and offal, to avoid cross-contamination of food.
- Cook food thoroughly and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.
- When traveling abroad, avoid contact with animals (including games), poultry and their faeces; avoid going to wet markets, live poultry markets or farms, and do not eat games or visit restaurants that serve games. Do not bring game, meat, poultry, or eggs into Hong Kong illegally.
Click here for other food safety advices and frequently asked questioned related to COVID-19.
Advice to Food Premises
Further, to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in food premises, operators of food premises are advised to maintain high standards of hygiene and cleanliness. The Centre for Food Safety recommends the followings:
- Food premises can take following measures to maintain physical distancing between employees/ customers:
- make takeaway an option to customers;
- avoid table sharing;
- modify seating arrangements to reduce direct face-to-face encounter;
- display poster or make announcement in food premises;
- add markings at queuing or waiting areas to remind customers on physical distancing;
- introduce partitions on service counters to reduce direct face-to-face encounter between customers and employees;
- encourage the use of contactless payments (e.g. credit cards, mobile apps);
- arrange staggering working and meal hours for staff, etc.
- Food business operators should strengthen cleansing and regular disinfection to food premises including kitchens, food rooms, scullery rooms, toilets (including water taps and toilet handles) and the seating area to keep them clean and properly maintained. Disinfection by applying 1:99 diluted domestic bleaching agent (i.e. dilution by mixing one part of bleaching agent with 99 parts of water) shall be carried out regularly and when in need.
- 1:49 diluted domestic bleaching agent (i.e. dilution by mixing one part of bleaching agent with 49 parts of water) should be used for places contaminated with respiratory secretions, vomitus or excreta.
- Staff should be reminded to check their body temperature regularly, and suspended from engaging in any food handling work when suffering or suspected to be suffering from an infectious disease or symptoms of illness. Wear a surgical mask when having respiratory symptoms, and seek medical advice promptly.
- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing.
- Practise good personal hygiene (e.g. washing hands before or after handling food, after clean-up is carried out, after handling refuse or other dirty items, and after visiting the toilet).
- Adopt 5 Keys to Food Safety to ensure proper food handling practices.
- Provide serving cutleries where deemed necessary.
- Avoid openly displaying unwrapped ready-to-eat food (e.g., bakery products).
- Avoid any food-tasting events.
- If staff wear disposable gloves when handling ready-to-eat food, they should be aware that gloves cannot be used as a substitute for handwashing and should be used properly.
Regarding cleaning and disinfection of environment when a suspected/confirmed case of COVID-19 is encountered, please refer to the guideline issued by the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health.
- Food Safety Advice on Prevention of COVID-19 and FAQs
- Food Safety and Hygiene Advisory for Food Premises on the Prevention of COVID-19
- Precautions for Food Delivery Agents on the Prevention of COVID-19
- Health Advice for Frozen Food Handlers on the Prevention of COVID-19
- Prevention of COVID-19 – Guidance on Disinfecting the Working Environment and the Food Package of Cold Stores at Import Level
- Food Safety Focus - Novel Coronavirus Infection and Food Safety (February 2020)
- Food Safety Focus - Coronaviruses and Foodborne Zoonoses (March 2020)
- Food Safety Focus - Eat Safe: Home-packed Meals, Takeaways and Delivered Foods (April 2020)
- Food Safety Focus - Home Cooking at the Time of a Pandemic (April 2020)
- Food Safety Focus - Frozen Meat: Tips for Food Safety (May 2020)
- Food Safety Focus - More Issues on COVID-19 in Food Business (May 2020)
- Food Safety Focus - Would Salmon Spread COVID-19? (July 2020)
- Food Safety Focus - Importance of Proper Use of Disposable Gloves in Food Handling (August 2020)
- Food Safety Focus - Let's Join Together: Uphold Food Safety of Food Delivery (September 2020)
- Food Safety Focus - Health Advice for Frozen Food Handlers on the Prevention of COVID-19 (December 2020)
Posters and Pamphlets
- Food Safety Advice on Prevention of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- Hand-washing Reminder
- "Safe food and good hygiene practices Together we beat COVID-19" Poster
- How to use gloves - A guide to food handlers