The government will review its enforcement on online food sales after a media report revealed that online platforms were selling Japanese sashimi without required licences, Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said on Sunday.
HKTV Mall, Oisix, A Style Gourmet, BuySashimi and Brotherhood Fine Food Company were found to be selling sashimi imported from Japan without necessary licenses issued by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, reported Ming Pao.
The online platforms told the newspaper that as they did not process the food they did not believe a license would be required. However, Ko said all sale of sashimi, including through the internet, are regulated.
The Composite Food Shop Licence and Restricted Food Permits are both required for sellers in Hong Kong offering high-risk foods such as sushi, sashimi and raw oysters.
Ko said that sashimi is a relatively high-priced item, meaning “many people would use whatever means possible” to turn a profit—even by personally bringing it to Hong Kong from overseas.
“It is not the case that [online] sales are not regulated by the law—it’s the difficulty in enforcing the law,” he added. He said the law needed to be reviewed in order to make enforcement an easier process.
Ko emphasised that the government was not only targeting sellers of sashimi, but acknowledging the need to review how existing regulations might be better enforced.
He cited the example of contaminated Horng Ryen Jen sandwiches, some of which were imported from Taiwan, that poisoned at least 96 people in Hong Kong this August.