The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has all along been committed to combating the sale of chilled or frozen meat disguised as fresh meat, and in a blitz operation on May 5 raided a licensed fresh provision shop (FPS) in Sha Tin District suspected of selling frozen meat as fresh meat.
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During the operation, FEHD officers raided a licensed FPS in Freshall (Sha Kok Market), and marked and sealed over 730 kilograms of suspected fresh meat and frozen meat for further investigation.
A beef sample was collected for testing for preservatives and prosecution will be taken out if sufficient evidence is collected. The licensee of the FPS is suspected of breaching the licensing condition for the display and sale of frozen meat as fresh meat, and the FEHD is proceeding with the cancellation of the FPS's licence.
FEHD officers also initiated two prosecutions against the operator of the FPS for dirtiness at the premises and placing a beef carcass on the floor without means of protection against the risk of contamination.
In addition, verbal warnings were also given to the operator of the FPS for non-compliance with relevant licensing conditions by being unable to provide delivery notes for inspection and improper storage temperature for frozen beef.
An FEHD spokesman said, "Selling of chilled or frozen meat disguised as fresh meat breaches the licensing condition and causes food safety problems. Also, the operation of these profiteers is unfair to other shops that comply with the requirements."
The spokesman added, "Anyone selling chilled meat or frozen meat without permission commits an offence and is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and six months' imprisonment on conviction.
"The department will continue to conduct regular inspections at licensed FPSs and market meat stalls, and will actively handle the complaints received. In detecting any irregularities, the FEHD will carry out immediate investigation and take appropriate enforcement action.
"In addition, the FEHD also proactively investigates suspected violations from time to time and conducts surprise inspections and enforcement action as necessary.
"If there is sufficient evidence, prosecutions will be initiated and follow-up action will be taken on the breach of licensing conditions or tenancy agreements. The licences of fresh provision shops breaching the licensing conditions may be cancelled, while the tenancies of market meat stalls breaching the tenancy agreements may be terminated."
The spokesman stressed that the FEHD is very concerned and has been committed to combating the sale of chilled or frozen meat disguised as fresh meat by taking stringent enforcement action against the violations. ■