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Application for permits for selling restricted foods online to start on February 22

     To further safeguard food safety, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has prepared a new set of permits to regulate the sale of restricted foods online, which will be open for application from February 22. The restricted foods specified in Schedule 2 of the Food Business Regulation (Cap. 132X) include sashimi, sushi and oysters to be eaten in raw state.

     A spokesman for the FEHD said today (February 3), "For operators selling restricted foods online without physical premises, the FEHD has prepared a permit for compliance by these operators for selling restricted foods online. The new licensing conditions of the permit require that restricted foods must be obtained from lawful sources, that they shall not be tampered with during transportation to prevent cross-contamination, and that the food products shall be stored at a safe and proper temperature at all times.

     "Moreover, the operators shall provide information on their websites such as the permit number, registered address and the restricted foods permitted for sale, so that consumers can verify such information through the FEHD website prior to making a decision to purchase the foods online."

     The spokesman said that apart from regulating online sale of restricted foods without physical premises, the FEHD will also impose the above-mentioned new licensing conditions on premises issued with food business licences or restricted food permits if they operate online food sale at the same time, which will take effect when they are renewed. The new licensing conditions are also applicable to newly issued licences or permits with immediate effect.

     Applications for permits for selling restricted foods online will be accepted from February 22. Application forms can be downloaded from the FEHD website ( or obtained from the following Licensing Offices from February 22:

Hong Kong & Islands Licensing Office
Address: 8/F, Lockhart Road Municipal Services Building, 225 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: 2879 5720

Kowloon Licensing Office
Address: 4/F, Pei Ho Street Municipal Services Building, 333 Ki Lung Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Tel: 2729 1298

New Territories Licensing Office
Address: 4/F, Tai Po Complex, 8 Heung Sze Wui Street, Tai Po, New Territories
Tel: 3183 9225

     Applicants can complete and submit the electronic application form online or return the completed application form to the respective Licensing Offices. Applicants also need to prepare the necessary documents (including the Business Registration Certificate of the place of business and certificates showing the legal sources of the food) for submission together with the application.

     The spokesman reiterated that no matter if they are selling food online or by traditional means, operators should obtain relevant licences/permits as required by the law, having regard to their modes of operation and food types for sale. Under the Food Business Regulation, any person who carries on any food business which involves the sale of fresh, chilled or frozen meat or poultry must obtain a fresh provision shop licence from the FEHD. If the business involves the preparation of food (e.g. sashimi, sushi and cakes) for sale for human consumption off the premises, a food factory licence is required. The Food Business Regulation also stipulates that save with the written permission of the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene, no person shall sell any restricted foods specified in Schedule 2 of the Regulation.

     "The FEHD has been monitoring online food sale activities. If an unlicensed food business is suspected to be involved in selling any food for human consumption online, or the food is from a suspicious source, FEHD officers will conduct investigations and take follow-up action accordingly. Should there be sufficient evidence, prosecution will be initiated," the spokesman said.

     He urged the trade to observe the relevant laws and regulations when selling food online. Any person who operates an unlicensed food business or sells restricted foods without permission is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months. A daily fine of $900 may also be imposed.

     The spokesman also reminded members of the public to pay attention to the safety issues of purchasing food online. They should be aware of the nature, potential risks and delivery temperature control of foods purchased online, in particular perishable and high-risk foods, and they are advised to buy food from licensed/permitted food business operators.

     For enquiries, please call the aforesaid Licensing Offices or the FEHD hotline at 2868 0000.

Ends/Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:27


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