Despite significantly lower customs duties and easier customs procedures, any importer bringing meat into Hong Kong is required to register and then obtain the appropriate import license from the Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. The registration process can be accomplished through correspondence or online tools (Food Trader Portal). Link to document format:
Link to online portal: https://www.ftp.cfs.gov.hk/
In any case, the license application is free of charge. Since 2012, poultry importers must fill out additional documentation when applying for a license. A license can only be granted to importers who are registered with the “Registration Scheme for Food Importers and Food Distributors or food traders exempted under the Food Safety Ordinance.” Among other things, companies should register a person responsible for food and environmental hygiene in the system. A guide on how to go through this process, along with a series of forms dedicated to the relevant products, can be found at the link:
The license is active for reported imports for six months. Information and contact details, including a phone number, can be found at:
After obtaining an import license, the paperwork for cold storage and warehousing must be completed. The registered importer should use a registered cold storage facility from the existing list, or declare a new cold storage facility if he does not intend to use facilities already declared.
The list of facilities is available at the link:
The application scheme is available at the link:
According to information from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), it takes an average of 5 business days to obtain approval to import products. Transport notification can take place before the cargo arrives at the port, however FEHD inspectors are required to check the cargo before delivery.
Each shipment of poultry meat must be accompanied by a health certificate in the agreed version between the veterinary authorities of the exporting country and Hong Kong, issued by the Veterinary Inspection Service.
The health certificate is bilingual – in English and in the language of the exporter’s country – and contains, among other things, the following information:
- Information about the shipper
- Destination of the product
- The origin of the product
- Details of the means of transportation and identification of the shipment
- Identification of the product
- Health certification
- Official seal and signature of the official veterinarian.
The primary legislation governing food trade and production is the Food Safety Ordinance and the fifth part of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance. Among other things, it is clear from these pieces of legislation that cargoes containing meat products without a proper health certificate, or that have been improperly handled, cannot be allowed to enter the market.
Part five of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance deals with the protection of customer rights, labeling standards, food hygiene or food recalls. Link to the document (sections 4-6):
The Food Safety Ordinance is a set of legal bases for import licenses
and food safety measures:
There is also a set of best practices and additional requirements related to the marketing of products. Among other things, entities marketing imported food are required to keep information on when, what and from whom the products were purchased, contact information, quantity and description of the food purchased. More information at the link: