HK plans extending food import control to eggs

Updated: 2011-05-18 13:10
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HONG KONG -- The Food and Health Bureau of Hong Kong Tuesday proposed extending the import control regime for meat and poultry to cover eggs.

Acting Secretary for Food and Health Gabriel Leung Tuesday consulted lawmakers on the proposed Imported Game, Meat, Poultry and Poultry Eggs Regulation to be made under the city's Food Safety Ordinance.

Leung said there is a need to strengthen import control of eggs because more than 99 percent of them in Hong Kong are imported and the World Health Organization warns that eggs from infected poultry could be contaminated with the avian influenza virus.

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Under the proposed regulation, "imported poultry eggs" means imported shelled or unshelled poultry eggs commonly used for human consumption, including raw, preserved and partly-cooked eggs, and their yolks.

For every consignment of imported eggs, importers must provide an official health certificate for their export issued by a competent authority recognized by Hong Kong's Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene, otherwise prior written permission from the director will be required.

In addition to a health certificate, an import license issued by the director under the Import and Export Ordinance should be obtained before the eggs can be imported. The import license and health certificates should accompany the consignment at the time of import and be produced for inspection.

The government plans to table the proposed regulation at the city's Legislative Council before the end of 2011.