Harmful Substances in Food Regulations

Introduction

The Harmful Substances in Food (Amendment) Regulation 2021 (“the Amendment Regulation”) was published in the Gazette on 11 June 2021 and the Legislative Council completed its scrutiny work in July 2021.

The Amendment Regulation aims at updating and strengthening the regulatory control of three types of mycotoxins, i.e. aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol (also known as vomitoxin) and patulin, in food; as well as setting or updating the maximum levels for five other harmful substances (i.e. benzo[a]pyrene, glycidyl fatty acid esters, melamine, 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol and erucic acid) in edible fats and oils, condiments or formula products intended for infants.

With reference to the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Amendment Regulation also specifies partially hydrogenated oil, i.e. the main source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids (IP-TFAs), as a prohibited substance in food, with a view to meeting the WHO's goal of eliminating IP-TFAs from the global food supply by 2023.  To align with the prevailing international standards and practices, the Government also published in the Gazette on 11 June 2021 the Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) (Amendment) Regulation 2021 to stipulate that any prepackaged food containing hydrogenated oils, e.g. fully hydrogenated oil, must be indicated accordingly in the list of ingredients.

The Amendment Regulation will come into force in two phases - for the provisions relating to specifying partially hydrogenated oil as a prohibited substance in food and the related marking and labelling requirement to come into operation on 1 December 2023, and all other provisions to come into operation on 1 June 2023.


Harmful Substances in Food (Amendment) Regulation 2021


Technical Meeting (January 2021 – ongoing )

A series of meetings to discuss with trade and other interested stakeholders on technical issues related to the Amendment Regulation will be arranged.

1st Meeting (27 January 2021)

2nd Meeting (26 March 2021)

3rd Meeting (25 June 2021)

4th Meeting (8 October 2021)


Public consultation (11 December 2020 – 15 March 2021)

The 3-month public consultation has ended.


Public forum (17 January 2021)

A public forum in form of online video conferencing (Zoom Cloud Meetings) on the Proposed Amendments to the Harmful Substances in Food Regulations has been arranged.

Powerpoint


Trade forum (23 December 2020)

A trade forum in form of online video conferencing (Zoom Cloud Meetings) on the Proposed Amendments to the Harmful Substances in Food Regulations has been arranged.

Powerpoint

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