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HK calls for e-certificate food system
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Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health York Chow said in Beijing on Tuesday that a common international platform for an electronic health-certificate system should be developed to enable food tracing with laser precision.

According to a press release from the Information Services Department of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, Chow said at the international food safety forum that with the platform authorities can predict food issues before they occur and food incidents can be resolved within hours rather than days.

Hong Kong is heading towards this direction and devising a set of food standards and making the best use of an electronic food-tracing system, he added.

Chow said a common format and platform for electronic health and food safety certification could greatly minimize economic, political and health damage caused by food-safety incidents.

He said the HKSAR government is drawing up a new law to manage food safety, is learning from the best international practice and is more than willing to contribute to the strengthening of international co-operation on the issue, according to the press release.

Chow said the goal is to ensure a comprehensive and up-to-date set of food-safety standards complying with international standards, yet suited to Hong Kong's circumstances.

The HKSAR government is planning a central poultry abattoir to avoid a human avian-influenza outbreak. Although the proposal has been hotly debated, Chow said he is confident the public will support it.

(Xinhua News Agency November 28, 2007)

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