Annual meeting on food, health and quarantine held in HK

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      The Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong, Shenzhen, Zhuhai Health, Animal and Plant Quarantine and Food Safety Control Meeting was held in Hong Kong today (December 4). Apart from sharing their experiences and exchanging views on various issues concerning public health, inspection and quarantine, and food safety at the meeting, health and quarantine authorities of the five places agreed to further strengthening current exchanges and co-operation.
     During the whole-day meeting, the co-operation among the five places on food, health, and inspection and quarantine was reviewed. Given that the Mainland is the main source of food supply to Hong Kong, and cross-boundary human and cargo traffic is highly frequent between Hong Kong and the neighbouring Guangdong, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Macau, health and quarantine authorities of the fiveplaces have been closely co-operating with each other.

The annual meeting facilitates the communication and co-operation among the five places with a view to safeguarding public health.
     At the meeting, the five places agreed to institutionalise the liaison and co-operation among each other, building on the existing foundation. The meeting also had in-depth discussions and exchanges on the important international as well as neighbouring regional issues of concern in recent years, including antimicrobial resistance (AMR), highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) and mosquito-borne diseases.
     Addressing the meeting, the Acting Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Chui Tak-yi, said that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government launched the Hong Kong Strategy and Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance in July this year to outline the strategies and actions to contain AMR in Hong Kong. They include setting up an AMR surveillance system, and monitoring and optimising the use of antimicrobials in humans and animals in Hong Kong under the "One Health" framework.
     On the prevention and control of AI, he noted that with the support of the relevant Mainland authorities, Hong Kong has established a stringent surveillance and control mechanism to reduce the overall AI risk.

Meanwhile, taking into consideration the findings of the consultancy study on the way forward for the live poultry trade in Hong Kong completed earlier this year, the HKSAR Government will adopt further biosecurity improvement measures including the introduction of H5-H7 AI bivalent vaccine into local poultry farms with a view to enhancing the immunity of local poultry.
     Regarding the prevention and control of mosquito-borne diseases, he said, "The HKSAR has all along attached great importance to controlling mosquitoes. The HKSAR Government has implemented a series of regular prevention and control measures, including conducting surveillance of mosquito breeding and anti-mosquito operation; monitoring of the situation of mosquito borne-diseases outside Hong Kong; carrying out mosquito-control work through interdepartmental collaboration and community participation; implementing port health measures and issuing travel health advice; and promoting public education to increase the public vigilance in regard to the potential risk of mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever and Zika virus infection. The HKSAR Government will continue to maintain close contact with the relevant authorities of the Mainland and Macau to monitor and notify each other of the latest developments of mosquito-borne diseases.
    The meeting also discussed a series of other issues on health, animal and plant inspection and quarantine, and food safety.

They include the enhancing of capability to respond to public health emergencies at railway control points; the inspection and quarantine of the import of day-old chicks from the Mainland and the export of eel fry to the Mainland from Hong Kong; the official health certificate system for food imported from the Mainland; and the enhanced co-operation on the safety of food supplied to Hong Kong and Macau from the Mainland.
     Taking the opportunity of the 20th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to the motherland and Hong Kong being the host of the meeting this year, the Food and Health Bureau and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of the Mainland together organised an exhibition to introduce the HKSAR Government's measures on ensuring food safety, as well as the efforts of the Mainland, as the main source of local live and fresh food, to ensure the quality and steady supply of food to Hong Kong. The exhibition was unveiled at the venue of the meeting.
     Those attending the meeting included the Director General of the Bureau of Import and Export Food Safety of AQSIQ, Mr Bi Kexin; the Director General of the Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, Mr Shi Zongwei; Member of the Administration Committee of the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau of the Macau Special Administrative Region Government Ms Ung Sau-hong; the Deputy Director General of the Shenzhen Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, Mr Xia Xinsheng; and the Deputy Director General of the Zhuhai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, Mr Pan Zhaosi.
     Other representatives of Hong Kong were the Permanent Secretary for Food and Health (Food), Mrs Cherry Tse; the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene, Ms Vivian Lau; the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, Dr Leung Siu-fai; the Acting Director of Health, Dr Cindy Lai; the Controller of the Centre for Food Safety, Dr Ho Yuk-yin; and the Government Chemist, Dr Della Sin.

Published on: 2017-12-04

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