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Government proposes to amend regulations to strengthen poultry egg import control

     The Government proposes to introduce amendments to three regulations to strengthen the import control of poultry eggs, with an aim to better protect Hong Kong from the threat of Avian Influenza (AI).

     The three amendment regulations are the Imported Games, Meat and Poultry (Amendment) Regulation 2015 (Amendment Regulation), the Import and Export (General) (Amendment) Regulation 2015 and the Food Business (Amendment) Regulation 2015.

     A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said today (June 3), "According to the World Health Organization, eggs from infected birds could be contaminated with AI. The World Organisation for Animal Health has recommended that an international veterinary certificate should accompany the import of eggs for human consumption for control of AI. Such import requirement is in place in many jurisdictions including the European Union, the United States of America and Singapore.

     "In 2014 and 2015, there were outbreaks of highly pathogenic AI in Europe, the American continents and different parts of Asia. Such outbreaks are expected to occur from time to time. Hence, there is a need to strengthen our regulatory regime to protect Hong Kong from the threat of AI."

     Under the proposed regulatory regime, no one can import eggs into Hong Kong unless they produce a health certificate issued by an issuing entity from the place of origin recognised by the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene to certify that the eggs are fit for human consumption; and obtain a permission in writing from a health officer of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department by providing information that the health officer considers essential for tracking the actual importation of the poultry eggs into Hong Kong. Fully cooked eggs and egg that constitutes one of the ingredients of a compounded food item are however excluded.
     Consequential technical amendments are also introduced to the Import and Export (General) Regulation and Food Business Regulation, to reflect the amendments made by the Amendment Regulation.

     The three amendment regulations will be published in the Gazette on June 5 and tabled before the Legislative Council (LegCo) on June 10. Subject to vetting by the LegCo, the amendment regulations will come into operation on December 5.

Ends/Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:59


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