Loophole sparks concern over online sales of high-risk food

January 25, 2016 16:00
Food safety concerns are being raised over loopholes in a new law intended to regulate online sales of raw fish, oysters, frozen meat and other types of food considered high-risk. Photo: Facebook, dbc.com

A new law on online sales of high-risk food is raising concern because of a loophole that allows imports of banned products.

The law covers companies that have no physical stores and sell this type of food exclusively on the internet.

These include raw fish, oysters and frozen meat.

The new regulations require those companies to apply for licenses and register their suppliers and their warehouses for inspection purposes.

However, online sales of certain products such as sandwiches, cookies and cakes are exempt from the requirement, Apple Daily reports, citing Sum Siu-Hin, superintendent for prosecutions and licensing of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

Hong Kong makers of sandwiches sold online are required to get a license but importers only need to register, Sum said.

This is because sandwiches are not considered high-risk, he said.

That is causing public concern because last year Hong Kong banned the import and sale of all sandwiches made by Horng Ryen Jen Cake and Biscuits Store in Taiwan after these were linked to dozens of food poisoning cases.

Lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said all online sales of fresh foods should be regulated.

Requiring sellers to register is not enough because they can change their name and restart the business.

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