Longer food clearance explained

September 16, 2023

The Centre for Food Safety today said it immediately followed up on recent reports about food products imported from Japan requiring a longer time for clearance, and has determined that such situations were not related to radiation testing.
Stressing that it attaches great importance to the reported situation, the centre stated that relevant information showed that the imported goods on the reported day had increased 60% when compared to the normal volume, and a few cases required the importers to submit supporting documents due to incompleteness on their initial submission.
It further explained that some cases required a longer processing time because the importers need to provide additional information to clarify discrepancies between the consignment’s actual content and the corresponding documents.
The centre pointed out that these situations were not related to radiation testing. In fact, it added that even though more food was imported than usual, the average clearance time for most of the other food was about 3.5 hours.
To speed up clearance, seven extra staff have been deployed to provide support to ensure a smooth operation and the centre will continue to monitor the situation and deploy manpower to meet the operational needs.
The centre emphasised that safeguarding food safety is the Government’s primary concern, hence relevant documents and packaging labels for each consignment is required to be examined by its staff according to established procedures.
Additionally, it noted that the inspection times will take longer for individual consignments that contain a large number of different types and origins of food products, resulting in a longer clearance time as well.
The centre reminds the trade that the clarity, completeness and accuracy of information provided can help shorten the inspection time. 

In an effort to enhance communication, an online briefing will be held again for the trade on September 20.
Furthermore, the centre will issue advisory letters to the trade reminding them that the refrigeration facilities at all three cargo terminals can be used to store food while waiting for inspection.

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