Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang called on the food trade to work with the government in promoting food safety and ensuring Hong Kong's image of a gourmet's paradise.
He showed concern over the recent food poisoning incidents while visiting the Mong Kok District Environmental Hygiene Office on Wednesday.
One of the incidents is malachite green in freshwater fish. It aroused people's concern last week and the scare has been eased since the government promised to strengthen inspection on freshwater fish.
Tsang said the government has been taking various measures for ensuring food safety in the city and the introduction of the new 9 million-HK dollar (US$1.16 million) Licensing Management Information System will enhance efficiency in the handling of licensing matters.
The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department handled matters relating to 32,000 licenses and permits last year. The new system gives staff quick access to information relating to the license status of premises by storing data concerning all licenses and permits handled onto a central computer system.
It currently covers license renewals and when in full operation early next year will also cover new applications, alteration, transfer and amendment of licenses.
Tsang met with front-line staff to gain a better understanding of their work. Noting difficulties sometimes faced by law-enforcement officers, he encouraged them to continue their duties professionally and to provide the best service to the community by improving food and environmental hygiene.
"Without the commitment and support of front-line staff it will not be possible for the government to achieve people-based governance," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2005)