The Hong Kong Health, Welfare & Food Bureau said on Thursday it is studying various international models of food safety regulation systems to see which could be applied in Hong Kong.
The bureau said it is more appropriate that the food safety regulation function be performed by a government department than an independent statutory body.
Statutory duties of such a food safety regulator include enforcement, conducting government-to-government negotiations on temporary suspension of food imports in response to safety concerns, and participation in international organizations requiring government representation such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
In other countries, food safety functions are performed by government agencies, the bureau said, citing that in the United States, the Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition is a government agency under the US Department of Health & Human Services. In Singapore, the Agri-food & Veterinary Authority is a government agency under the Ministry of National Development.
The bureau said it is also considering forming an advisory committee of experts from various fields to advise on local food standards and conduct research on food risks.
When details have been worked out, the bureau will consult with the Legislative Council panel on Food Safety & Environmental Hygiene before implementation, according to the bureau.
(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2005)