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Lax Safety Checks Allow Banned Imports to Enter Hong Kong

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Published on : May 04, 2015

Food contaminated with radioactive substances may have been entering the city of Hong Kong unnoticed for several years due to the lack of safety controls on fresh produce which enter the city by the sea, according to the South China Morning Post.

The lawmaker Wong Pik-wan from the Democratic Party said that the food safety surveillance in this region was too lax at the Kwai Chung container terminal which is he only sea entry point for food coming from abroad. Since, these food stuffs rely significantly on the importer who is taking the initiative.

Also, the food imported by ocean does not necessarily go through routine examination at the dock as the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department at present does not have any food inspection checkpoint at this sea terminal. Furthermore, the food imported by air is examined for any radiation at the airport itself.

Nevertheless, the food imported via sea is examined by health officers only if it is moved to storage areas by the importers, as stated by the department. Also, this would allow the people importing food to avoid inspection, according to Wong.

Wong further stated that there was a case in January when 10 boxes of carrots from Chiba, Japan which were one of the five prefectures out of which imports of fruits and vegetables were banned. This was in place since the incident of nuclear power plant occurred in 2011 at Fukushima. One of these boxes was sold while two of these boxes were located for sale in the wholesale fruit market of Yau Ma Tei, as a result of food safety officers acting on a complaint.

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