HK online food retailers to get new safety guidelines

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

HK online food retailers to get new safety guidelines
Hong Kong’s food authorities have reacted to various food scandals this year by issuing new guidelines for online sales.

Once the rules come into force in the first-quarter of 2016, online food businesses will be required to display business details on their websites and commit to ensuring proper storage temperatures during delivery.

The measures, tabled by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, will apply to all operators selling food without physical premises. They display their food licence or permit numbers, as well as a business address on all websites and publicity materials, when the new guidelines come into force.

All companies, including those with premises, will also be required to maintain proper storage temperatures during the delivery of online purchases.

Online food sales have been under the spotlight this year, especially after more than 80 people fell ill after eating Taiwanese Horng Ryen Jen sandwiches, some of which were ordered online.

Some quarters of the online food industry have reacted strongly against the guidelines. Speaking to South China Morning Post, Suki Cheung, who runs 88 Food Express, an online food trader, said it was “impractical​” to deliver all food in refrigerated vans.

"How many refrigerated vans are there in Hong Kong?The cost is three times higher than ordinary trucks,​” she said, adding that her company would normally use dry ice packs in unrefrigerated vans.

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