Speech at Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene

III. Food Surveillance Programme

Implementation and effectiveness of the Food Surveillance Programme 2022

Members noticed that among the results of regular food surveillance and surveillance of online food sales (see Annex 2 and Annex 3 to the Administration’s paper respectively) under FSP in 2022, the food groups with the highest “unsatisfactory rate” were “aquatic products and related products” (0.34%) and “vegetables, fruits and related products” (0.69%) respectively. They considered that CFS should take a higher number of samples for testing from food groups with higher “unsatisfactory rate” and/or sales volume to enhance protection of local food safety.

The Administration responded that both regular food surveillance and surveillance of online food sales in 2022 had an overall satisfactory rate of around 99.8%, similar to the figures in 2021, indicating that food safety in Hong Kong stayed at a high level. In devising the sample collection strategy under FSP, CFS would consider multiple factors (including referring to results of regular population-based food consumption surveys to understand food consumption by the public and to assess the risks to food safety). Regarding certain foods tested unsatisfactory, CFS would take prompt and effective risk management actions, and would take samples from the implicated foods for testing for at least three years to protect public health.

Regulation of nutrition labelling of food products

Members were concerned that in the market, many prepackaged snack products from all over the world were not attached with nutrition labels, rendering consumers unable to tell the composition and nutrients of those food products. The Administration responded that CFS would collect about 55 000 samples of prepackaged food in the market each year to check whether they were marked or labelled pursuant to the Food and Drugs (Composition and Labelling) Regulations (Cap. 132W) and/or the Technical Guidance Notes on Nutrition Labelling and Nutrition Claims. If irregularities were detected, CFS would take follow-up actions as appropriate.

IV. Refuse collection point and recycling store at Anderson Road Quarry

Proposed project and the estimated cost

Members noted that the proposed joint-user building would be the second project in the territory featuring the co-location of an RCP and a recycling store and the estimated cost (in money-of-the-day prices) was about $110.6 million. Members recalled that the Administration had sought members’ views at the Panel meeting on 10 November 2020 on the works project of the first joint-user building in the territory featuring the co-location of the two facilities. According to the information provided by the Administration then, the estimated cost (in money-of-the-day prices) of the six-storey joint-user building in Hung Shui Kiu, Yuen Long was about $190 million. Members asked the Administration why the construction unit cost per square meter of the proposed three-storey joint-user building under discussion was higher than that of the project in Hung Shui Kiu.

The Administration responded that apart from a permanent off-street RCP and a community recycling centre, the six-storey joint-user building at Hung Shui Kiu would also accommodate the office and ancillary facilities for FEHD. The unit cost of the latter’s office, etc., was lower than that of RCP, so the construction unit cost (overall construction cost divided by total construction floor area) per square meter of the Hung Shui Kiu project was dragged down relative to the Anderson Road project. As for the project on Anderson Road, since the topography at the junction of On Yu Road and On Yu Path was relatively irregular, and the environmental constraints did not permit the parking and operation of refuse collection vehicles (“RCVs”) on the street. RCVs had to be fully parked inside RCP to operate, thus inflating the cost of ventilation system inside that RCP. Concerning the proportion of indoor space occupied by the driveway and RCP, the Anderson Road project had a full proportion, while the Hung Shui Kiu project only had half. The cost of the former had already been reflected in the estimated cost of the relevant project. Discounting the cost of the two projects arising from their unique factors, the construction unit cost per square meter of the Hung Shui Kiu project and the Anderson Road project would be at similar level.

Members asked whether the Administration would consider increasing the plot ratio of the proposed project site. The Administration responded that the relevant outline zoning plan had a height restriction in place, and the building height restriction of the proposed joint-user building site was 200 metres above the Hong Kong Principal Datum. Under this restriction, the authorities originally planned to construct a building with a maximum height of around 11 metres. However, to support the “single site, multiple use” policy objective and optimize the use of precious land resources, the Administration had applied to the Town Planning Board (“TPB”) for relaxing the height restriction to 206.35 metres above the Hong Kong Principal Datum to construct a building with a maximum height of around 17.35 metres. With the approval from TPB, the Administration then proposed to construct a three-storey joint-user building under the proposed project.