The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department has made 40 prosecutions against people keeping live seafood in fish tank water, which did not conform with statutory requirements, since 2004. Thirty-one prosecutions were made in 2004, five last year and four in the first nine months of this year.
Secretary for Health, Welfare & Food Dr York Chow today told lawmakers that a proposal to amend the Food Business Regulation was submitted to the Legislative Council’s Panel on Food Safety & Environmental Hygiene last year.
The proposal sought to prohibit abstraction of seawater for keeping live seafood for human consumption from waters where a consistently high level of e.coli is detected in Environmental Protection Department samples.
Last July and August the Government conducted consultation sessions with the trade and members of District Councils and Area Committees on the proposal, and they were generally supportive. The Government will introduce the amendment regulation next year.
To encourage self-regulation of the trade, the voluntary Quality Seawater Assurance Scheme was launched in January for seawater suppliers and seafood traders.
As at the end of September 120 premises were accredited, including seawater suppliers and seafood wholesalers and retailers, like supermarket chains, seafood restaurants and sales outlets.