, Hong Kong
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New measures to enhance Hong Kong's food businesses

These include a new system for streamlining full licences and relaxed restrictions.

Hong Kong's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department will implement two new measures to enhanced the city’s food business, starting 1 March.

The department will introduce the Professional Certification System that will adopt a “licence first, inspection later” approach to streamline application procedures, shorten processing times, and facilitate compliance with the licencing requirements.

Under the new system, an authorised person or registered structural engineer provides Certificates of Compliance and final layout plans with all the health requirements to the department before issuing a full licence.

Afterwards, the department’s staff conducts an on-site audit check to confirm if the premises comply with all of the submitted health requirements.

Read more: Basic food products cost almost a quarter of Hong Kongers’ minimum wage

The department will implement the Professional Certification System in light refreshment restaurants (LRRs) and food factories (FFs). Owners can choose between the current and the new system in applying for their full licenses.

They will also consider extending the certification system to other food businesses depending on its smooth implementation and support from the industry.

Meanwhile, the department will relax the restrictions on the scope of food items that LRRs can cook and sell as long as food safety and environmental hygiene would not be compromised.

Under the relaxed restrictions, LRRs are only allowed to adopt simple cooking methods that do not generate large amounts of greasy fumes during food preparation.

The department will also not allow cooking or food re-heating activities such as hotpots, teppanyaki, and Korean-style barbeques in the seating area.

These measures will enhance the flexibility for the operation of over 4,300 LRRs in Hong Kong, allowing them to sell more food to the public.

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