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HONG KONG : THE FACTS Food and Environmental Hygiene The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) Imported Food and Food Animals Control: Food was set up on January 1, 2000. The department is and food animals control offices are set up at Man Kam To, responsible for food safety control, import control on live Lok Ma Chau, Lok Ma Chau Spurline, Lo Wu, Sha Tau food animals, management of food incidents as well as Kok, Hong Kong International Airport, Wholesale Food environmental hygiene services and facilities. Markets at Western District and Cheung Sha Wan to The FEHD delivers its services through the Centre for monitor the safety of imported food. Food Safety, Environmental Hygiene Branch, and Import requirements for food and live food animals Administration and Development Branch. are imposed for public health reasons. Live food animals and certain high risk imported food like milk, milk Centre for Food Safety: The work of the Centre for Food beverages, frozen confections, game, meat and poultry Safety is to ensure that food available for human are governed by subsidiary legislation of the Public Health consumption is wholesome, hygienic, safe and properly and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132) and the labelled; to safeguard public health through testing and Public Health (Animals and Birds) Ordinance (Cap. 139). control of live food animals; and to advise the public on Import of milk, milk beverages, frozen confections, game, risk management measures in relation to food and public meat and poultry is confined to sources recognised by the health matters. It also provides secretarial support to the department. Staff of the Veterinary Public Health Section Expert Committee on Food Safety, established to advise perform quarantine and inspection on food animals at the the centre in the formulation of food safety measures and Man Kam To Animal Inspection Station. review of food safety standards in the light of international Food Surveillance Programme: In line with the best practices, trends and developments. international practice, the food surveillance programme The centre comprises three divisions: Food has all along been based on risk assessment and scientific Surveillance and Control Division, Risk Assessment and evidence. Under the food surveillance programme, about Communication Division, and Administration Division. 65 000 samples are taken each year for chemical and The Food Surveillance and Control Division is the microbiological testing to safeguard public health. The operational arm charged with the responsibility of findings enable prevention and timely control of food risks. enhancing food safety assurance. Its major aspects of Compliance with regulatory requirements on food safety work include food surveillance and food labelling and labelling is also monitored through this programme. inspections, and enforcing safety control on imported food. Food surveillance reports are released to the public The division consists of the Risk Management Section, regularly. Clear explanations and interpretation are given Veterinary Public Health Section, Slaughterhouse to enhance risk communication with the public. (Veterinary) Section, Food Import and Export Section, Risk Assessment: Risk assessment provides the Food Surveillance and Complaint Section and Food scientific basis for risk management and risk Chemistry Section. communication. Laboratory researches conducted by the The Risk Assessment and Communication Division is Food Research Laboratory provide support to the risk the research and development arm charged with the assessment studies, research work and total diet study responsibilities of conducting risk assessment and conducted by the centre. Scientific data for risk providing food safety information to the public as well as assessment so obtained will be made use of in the the food industry. The division consists of the Risk formulation of food safety control strategies. Assessment Section, Risk Communication Section and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Food Research Laboratory Section. Based Food Safety Plan: Another means of achieving The Administration Division provides administrative food safety is through the promotion of HACCP Based support to the centre. Food Safety Plan. It is a scientific and proactive approach Risk Management: The centre monitors food in enhancing food safety. It emphasises the analysis and incidents, both local and overseas. The Risk Management control of critical points along the food chain, followed by Section assesses the local impact, takes appropriate continuous monitoring and corrections wherever follow up actions and assists in the coordination of appropriate. Since prevention is better than cure, HACCP immediate response to food incidents taking into account Based Food Safety Plan provides the greatest food safety the risks involved and the local situation. The section in assurance. The centre continues to introduce and promote collaboration with the Centre for Health Protection of the the HACCP principles to the food trade. Department of Health investigates outbreaks of food poisoning and food borne infectious diseases in food Environmental Hygiene Branch: The Environmental premises, identifies the contributing factors in the Hygiene Branch is responsible for the implementation and outbreaks and assists in tracing the source of suspected co-ordination of environmental hygiene services, food. It also educates food handlers about food, personal management of public markets, hawker control and and environmental hygiene. licensing matters. The branch consists of a Headquarters Division and Food and Other Trades: The FEHD is the licensing three Operations Divisions. The Headquarters Division is authority for food businesses (namely restaurants, food responsible for formulating departmental policies and factories, bakeries, fresh provision shops, factory canteens, guidelines on environmental hygiene services, licensing, siu mei and lo mei shops, frozen confection factories, milk market management and hawker control. It advises the factories, cold stores, composite food shops and sale of Liquor Licensing Board on liquor licensing matters and restricted foods), certain trades (namely places of public provides secretarial support to the board. It also processes entertainment, commercial bathhouses, private swimming applications for review to the appeal boards. pools, funeral parlours, undertaker businesses, The three Operations Divisions are responsible for slaughterhouses and offensive trades) and operating karaoke monitoring and management of environmental hygiene establishments in restaurants in Hong Kong. The FEHD services in all districts throughout Hong Kong. performs regular inspections on licensed and permitted Public Cleansing: The FEHD provides cleansing premises to ensure licence and permit holders comply with services, including street sweeping, household waste licensing requirements and conditions as well as the law. As collection and other cleansing work, by both the in-house at the end of 2011, there were 29 502 licensed and permitted workforce and cleansing contractors involving a total of food premises, 1 507 licensed other trade premises and 82 10 100 frontline operatives. For achieving greater karaoke establishments in restaurants. efficiency and cost-effectiveness, the department has Public Markets: As at the end of 2011, the FEHD continued to contract out public cleansing services. At operates a total of 77 public markets and 25 free standing present, 74% of household waste collection service and cooked food markets, with around 14 400 stalls selling 76% manual street cleansing service have been foodstuffs and a whole range of clothing and daily outsourced. necessities. The department is vested with the All streets are manually swept at least once every day. responsibility of properly managing these markets and In the main commercial and tourist areas, streets are keeping these markets tidy. Promotions are also swept an average of four times a day, and up to eight conducted in selected markets to improve their business times a day in the busiest pedestrian areas. atmosphere. In addition to manual sweeping, there are seven To enhance the vibrancy of public markets, the FEHD mechanical sweepers from the FEHD contractor has introduced service trades, snack shops and bakeries responsible for the cleaning of highways, flyovers and to certain markets with vacant stalls since mid-2009. At the central dividers. FEHD and cleansing contractors have a end of 2011, 67 service trade stalls, seven snack stalls total of 102 street washing vehicles which operate day and and one bakery stall were let out. night with the frequency of street washing ranging from on Hawker Control: The FEHD is responsible for hawker need basis to at least twice weekly depending on the management and control in Hong Kong. There are, in nature of the area served. On gully emptying, the FEHD essence, two categories of hawker licences: fixed pitch maintains both in-house staff and contractor’s fleet to hawker licences and itinerant hawker licences. As at the operate seven gully emptying vehicles to provide regular end of 2011, the number of fixed-pitch and itinerant hawker service. The FEHD and its contractors operate a total of licences were 6 190 and 262 respectively in the urban area, 241 modern refuse collection vehicles. Every day, about and 290 and 243 respectively in the New Territories. The 5 160 tonnes of household waste are collected from over Food and Health Bureau and the FEHD completed a 3 200 FEHD refuse collection points and bin sites and hawker licensing policy review in 2009. The FEHD had other collection points in residential estates all over the continued to implement the proposals resulting from the territory. They are taken to the refuse transfer stations or review concerning re-issue of certain categories of hawker landfills managed by the Environmental Protection licences which include 61 new Itinerant (Frozen Department (EPD). Confectionery) Hawker Licences, and 218 Fixed Pitch In support of the Government’s Policy Framework (Other Classes) Hawker Licences for on-street vacant for the Management of Municipal Solid Waste (2005- hawker pitches. The FEHD also relaxed the restrictions on 2014), the FEHD provides recyclables collection the transfer of licences, number of tables and stools, etc. for service for the 3 303 sets of recyclables collection nine cooked food stalls called “Dai Pai Tongs” in Central to bins provided in schools, government clinics, public help preserve them as part of Hong Kong’s local heritage. places and various venues under its purview as well as Hawker Control Teams are deployed to control illegal that of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation hawking activities and to minimise nuisances created by Department, Leisure and Cultural Services Department street trading either by hawkers or by illegal extension of and EPD. Each set of the bins comprises three individual shops into the street area. The district Hawker Control bins for the collection of waste paper, metal and plastic Teams consist of 191 squads (125 in Hong Kong and materials. Kowloon and 66 in the New Territories), including the Public Toilets: Altogether 659 public toilets come Hawker Control Task Force which comprises 27 squads under the department and about 41% of the toilets with (15 in Hong Kong and Kowloon and 12 in the New high usage rate are provided with toilet attendants. In Territories). The task force mounts special operations at addition, there are 187 aqua privies in the New Territories major hawker black spots and augments hawker control and outlying islands. In order to upgrade old public toilets work in the districts. It also works a special overnight shift to the latest standard of provision, the FEHD has to tackle illegal hawking activities during the late-night and embarked on a toilet refurbishment programme. So far, early-morning hours. 242 projects have been completed. To improve the Slaughterhouses: The FEHD is responsible for the sanitary condition of aqua privies, the FEHD has been monitoring of slaughterhouses to ensure that their implementing a programme to convert aqua privies into operations meet the required hygiene and environmental flushing toilets by phases since 2005. So far, the standards. There are three licensed slaughterhouses, conversion of 319 aqua privies has been completed. We namely Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse, Tsuen Wan plan to complete the final phase of the conversion Slaughterhouse and Cheung Chau Slaughterhouse, with a programme by the end of 2013. total daily throughput of about 4 260 pigs, 78 cattle and 36 Enforcement: The Government enforces against goats. Veterinary officers deployed to work in the common cleanliness offences (i.e. littering, spitting, slaughterhouses are responsible for the monitoring of the unauthorised display of bills or posters and fouling of health condition of food animals and the examination of street by dog faeces) by issuing fixed penalty notices of drug residues. While field officers stationed at the $1,500 to offenders. A “zero tolerance” approach is slaughterhouses conduct body fluid and tissue sampling of adopted in the enforcement. food animals for testing and perform ante-mortem inspection, health inspectors inspect food animals after education garden, a resource centre holding a collection of slaughtering; monitor the operation of slaughterhouses over 6 000 items of publications and a lecture room. The and arrangement of meat delivery, etc., so as to ensure CRU houses an exhibition hall, public and trade corners as only meat fit for human consumption is released for sale in well as a multi-purpose room. It has a rich collection of the market. resource materials with local and international flavours on Pest Control: Pest control work, such as the control food safety and pest control for the reference of the public. of rodents, mosquitoes and other arthropod pests with The two units support a wide range of health medical importance, is carried out by both the FEHD in- education services including holding public exhibitions and house and contractor pest control teams. It aims to seminars, and providing publications and audio-visual prevent and control the breeding of disease vectors. The materials for reference. The CRU focuses on organising methodology in pest control is continuously reviewed to various food safety programmes and providing support to ensure effectiveness and efficacy in controlling the members of the trade and the public with a view to disease vectors. The Pest Control Advisory Section enhancing food safety. It also provides lending service provides professional advice on the prevention and control for audio-visual learning/teaching aids to organisations of public health pests to government departments and the and schools. public. Public Education and Publicity: Public education Cemeteries and Crematoria: The FEHD serves the and publicity play an important role in the FEHD’s activities public by providing services on cremation and burial of and initiatives, forming part of an integrated approach to body and skeletal remains. It operates six government ensuring food safety and improving environmental hygiene. crematoria, 11 public cemeteries and eight public Messages promoting “Keep Clean”, “Food Safety”, columbaria, and oversees the management of 28 private “Nutrition Labellling”, “Anti-rodent” and “Anti-mosquito” are cemeteries. disseminated through various channels, such as television In addition to the above traditional burial services, and radio Announcements in the Public Interest, posters FEHD also promotes sustainable ways of handling and banners, pamphlets and leaflets, departmental cremains by encouraging the public to scatter ashes of website, outreach programmes, school talks, seminars, their ascendants in its eight Gardens of Remembrance or workshops, exhibitions, Mobile Exhibition Centre (a at designated Hong Kong waters. It also provides the publicity vehicle), two broadcasting vans equipped with TV Internet Memorial Service website and its mobile version and LED panel, etc. Educational and publicity efforts are for the public to pay tribute to the deceased and to show also directed at various target groups, e.g. members of the condolence to their lost loved ones at any time and from food trade, students, the elderly, ethnic minorities, etc. anywhere. For trade collaborations, the Centre for Food Safety has put in place a regular Trade Consultation Forum and Administration and Development Branch: The other ad hoc meetings with the trade for risk Administration and Development Branch is responsible for communication on food safety issues. The centre has set departmental administration, including staff management up a Food Safety Charter and invites food trade and development, financial management, information associations and licensed food premises to be the technology, planning and implementation of capital works signatories for promoting good safety practice. projects, outsourcing of services, complaints management, The centre has also put in place a nutrition labelling public information and public education. promotion programme in support of the implementation of Health Education: The FEHD is responsible for the the Nutrition Labelling Scheme in 2010. In 2011, the promotion of food safety and environmental hygiene. It centre continues to reach out to the general public through operates the Health Education Exhibition and Resource various publicity and education activities and media Centre (HEERC) in Kowloon Park and the Communication channels, and support education stakeholders. To further Resource Unit (CRU) in Fa Yuen Street Municipal consolidate the effort, a two-year enhancement nutrition Services Building. labelling promotion programme has also been launched, The HEERC comprises a 1 100-square-metre aiming at motivating people to use nutrition labels in exhibition area, a 400-square-metre outdoor health choosing food suitable for them. Published by the Information Services Department, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Home Page address: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government http://www.fehd.gov.hk February 2012 GovHK Website: http://www.gov.hk Information contained in this publication may be freely used. No acknowledgement is necessary.
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