Speech at Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene

III. Food safety first – Comprehensive response measures against discharge of wastewater from Fukushima nuclear power plant

Assisting society and the trades in making preparations

Members were concerned about a possible shortage of food products imported from Japan if Hong Kong decided to tighten up import control measures on Japanese food products in response to Japan’s discharge of wastewater. They suggested that the HKSAR Government should introduce measures in support of the development of local agricultural and fisheries industry as soon as possible, while actively identifying alternative sources of food products.

The Administration would maintain close liaison with relevant local trades (including importers of Japanese food products and catering operators) to enable them to better grasp the latest position of the discharge plan and the response measures implemented by the Government, so that early preparations could be made. On the other hand, EEB was currently working hand in hand with the local agriculture and fisheries industry to formulate a blueprint for the sustainable development of agriculture and fisheries to promote the upgrading, transformation and sustainable development of the industry.

Members expressed concern about the impact of the discharge plan on relevant local trades (including the fisheries industry, catering trade, and wholesalers and retailers of Japanese food products/cosmetics) and daily lives of members of the public. Members suggested that the Administration should formulate measures as soon as practicable to provide appropriate support, such as financial assistance, to affected trades. Moreover, the Administration should set up a food safety alert system. Once Japan had commenced the discharge plan, the HKSAR Government should consider issuing the proposed food safety alerts and/or travel alerts based on risks, and enhance the dissemination of information to the trades and the public regarding the incident (especially the latest positions of the response measures implemented by the HKSAR Government and health information), and to constantly remind various sectors in society how to respond to the incident.