The Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) has continuously monitored the food products sold on the market through routine surveillance system and inspection regime. In the first five months this year, a total of 34 cases involving imported food products which have not undergone sanitary inspection and tests in accordance with the law have been opened. A total 18 of the cases involved pre-packaged duck blood food products. IAM reminds the food sector that attention must be paid to the ingredients of food products, and any food product subject to compulsory testing and inspection must be declared truthfully and complete the inspection process.
Over half of the 34 cases (about 53%) involved the production and operation of pre-packaged duck blood products which have not undergone testing and inspection. IAM has immediately confiscated the involved products and initiated prosecution in accordance with the law. IAM has continuously conducted inspections and monitoring. When the production, operation or sale of food products which are legally required to undergo inspection but have not been inspected is found, IAM will initiate prosecution in accordance with the “Food Safety Law”. An act constituting a criminal offence is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison or a maximum fine of 600 days. An act constituting an administrative infraction is punishable by a maximum fine of MOP50,000 to MOP600,000.
Uninspected meat or food products of animal origin may contain pathogens which can be spread by touch or infected animals, and consumption of contaminated food products poses a certain amount of food safety risk. IAM reminds those who engage in import and online purchase of food or act as agents for shopping and pick-up of food products that if their businesses involve the import of food products of animal origin or products which are made with animal ingredients, including meat, aquatic products and blood products, they should ask the manufacturers or suppliers about the ingredients and characteristics of these food products, enquire the commodity codes (HS codes) of the food products through the Statistics and Census Service and compare them to the list of commodities subject to inspection, truthfully declare the products to the competent authorities and subject the products to sanitary inspection and testing, and submit the documentary proof of hygiene and relevant sanitary inspection documents issued by the government of the places of origin for approval. Only products which have passed the inspection procedure can be circulated on the market, otherwise legal responsibilities must be borne in accordance with the law. The food sector can call the Food Safety Hotline 2833 8181 for information and enquiries before the import and sale of the relevant food products.
In addition, IAM reminds consumers that they should purchase food products from reputable, hygienic and reliable stores. When purchasing food products on the internet or from shopping agents, they must clearly know the source and ingredients of the products, so as to better safeguard their own health and food safety.