The Consumer Council has warned that it may be difficult to pursue responsibility for food poisoning resulting from the consumption of food purchased online as there are no specific regulations governing such sales, am730 reported on Wednesday.
The watchdog said a recent inspection of more than 40 online food stores showed that many do not display licenses from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
Of the online food shops inspected, eight were selling fresh sashimi, frozen meat and ice-cream products.
It found that some sashimi products sold by an online store were not properly packed, an order of sherbet dessert was partially thawed upon delivery, blood was seen coming out of frozen meat products purchased from three online shops, and cream puffs were found crushed when their packages were opened.
The Consumer Council urged consumers to be mindful of the background, reputation and operation of online shops and the risks involved in the delivery of such products before making a purchase.
Michael Hui King-man, chairman of the council’s publicity and community relations committee, said consumers might find it difficult to determine whether an online shop is licensed to sell food products.
Hui called on the government to issue guidelines requiring online food stores to display their licences on their websites, and conduct spot checks of their products and operations on a regular basis.
The FEHD has investigated more than 60 complaints involving online food stores over the past 18 months, and initiated prosecution of at least 11 cases.
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