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2.1 Licensing of Food Premises

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Under the Food Business Regulation, the Milk Regulation and the Frozen Confections Regulation, operators of all those food premises mentioned in paragraph 1.2 of Chapter 1 are required to obtain licences from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department before operation of their business. In obtaining their licences, they have to comply with specific licensing requirements pertaining to health, fire and building safety, as appropriate.

2.2 Layout

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  1. Food premises should be designed and constructed in such a way that they:
    1. are appropriate to the activities they are used for;
    2. provide adequate spaces for food production and other ancillary facilities and equipment;
    3. minimize the likelihood of food contamination;
    4. facilitate easy cleaning, sanitizing and maintenance;
    5. prevent access or harbourage of pests ;
    6. keep out dust, dirt, fumes, smoke or other contaminants; and
    7. provide a safe environment for workers and customers.
  2. The layout of food premises should be designed in such a manner that:
    1. food flow is in one direction as far as possible (i.e. receiving → storage → preparation → packaging / serving → transportation → retailing);
    2. adequate spaces are provided for food preparation, food storage, scullery, storage of equipment / utensils and installation of sanitary fitments;
    3. food or clean eating utensils are not conveyed through an open space or open yard;
    4. incompatible areas (such as cloakrooms or toilets) are completely segregated from food rooms; and
    5. customers do not have to pass through a food room in going to the toilet.


Properly designed and constructed food premises minimize the likelihood of contamination of food arising from unnecessary movement of food and personnel within the premises, or the likelihood of insanitary operations being in close proximity to sanitary operations.

2.3 Kitchens and Food Rooms

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Minimum Area for Kitchens and Food Rooms

The total area of kitchens, food preparation rooms and scullery accommodations in every restaurant and factory canteen should not be less than the minimum requirement as stated in either Schedule 4 (licences granted before 1.2.1974) or Schedule 5 (licences granted between 1.2.1974 and 31.7.2010) or Schedule 5A (licences granted on or after 1.8.2010) of the Food Business Regulation. The general rule is that food premises with larger gross floor area should provide more space for food preparation.


Adequate space for food preparation is essential to effective and hygienic food preparation having regard to the number of customers to be served. Too small a kitchen or food room may cause congestion and insanitary food operation that increases the risk of food contamination.

2.4 Walls and Ceilings

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  1. Walls
    1. Walls should be designed and constructed in such a way that they are capable of being easily kept clean but not providing harbourage for pests.
    2. Internal surfaces of walls and partitions in kitchens and food rooms should be surfaced with smooth, durable, non-absorbent and easily cleaned materials (e.g. glazed tiles or stainless steel) to a height of not less than 2 m. The rest may be limewashed or painted. Junctions between walls, partitions and floors should be coved (rounded).
  2. Ceilings

    Ceilings should be of continuous construction so that there are no empty spaces or joints. Although ceilings are less likely to require frequent cleaning, the surfaces should allow ease of cleaning. Ceilings in kitchens and food rooms should be limewashed or painted.

  3. False Ceilings

    False ceilings in food rooms should have smooth, easily cleaned and impervious surfaces. Access openings to the space above false ceilings should be provided to facilitate cleaning and detection of signs of pest infestation. False ceilings in kitchens should be avoided.


Walls and ceilings with durable, impervious and easily cleaned surfaces facilitate cleaning work.

2.5 Floors

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  1. Floors in kitchens and food rooms should :
    1. be surfaced with non-slippery, light coloured, non-absorbent and easily cleaned and durable materials (e.g. mosaic tiles);
    2. be coved at the junctions with walls; and
    3. be sloped towards a floor drain.
  2. Carpets and mats made of absorbent materials should not be provided in food rooms, food storage areas, toilets and other wet areas. Use of duckboards is not allowed.


Non-absorbent materials prevent absorption of water and grease. Suitable sloping enables excess water to be drained away to avoid ponding. Properly constructed floor surfaces are easier to clean and sanitize. All these minimize the risk of contamination of food from environmental sources.

2.6 Floor Drains

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Floor drains in kitchens and food rooms should:

  1. be so constructed as to prevent accumulation of waste water;
  2. be easily accessible for cleaning and clearing of chokage; and
  3. be properly trapped, vented and connected to a proper drainage system.


Accumulation of waste water on the floor of food premises increases the risk of food contamination. Properly designed and constructed floor drains can eliminate water accumulation and prevent entry of pests to food premises.

2.7 Water Supply

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  1. Adequate potable water either obtained from public mains or a source approved by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department should be installed on the food premises for cleaning and food preparation purposes.
  2. Adequate supply of hot water should be provided for all activities conducted on the food premises as far as possible. The hot water should be of sufficient temperature to achieve effective cleaning and sanitizing purposes.
  3. Water storage tanks for potable water should be designed and constructed in such a manner as to prevent contamination. To prevent the access by animals, birds and other extraneous matters, they should be provided with covers. Overflows should be screened as well.


Use of public mains water or water obtained from an approved source ensures that the water is clean and safe to drink and can avoid contamination of food or equipment. Adequate supply of water is necessary to facilitate effective cleaning and safe food processing operations.

2.8 Handwashing Facilities

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  1. Every food room, kitchen and scullery area should be equipped with at least one wash hand basin for use by the staff. The standard of provision is one basin for every 20 staff.
  2. Wash hand basins should:
    1. be of permanent fixture, located where they can be easily accessible for use. For those provided for toilets, they should be located either inside the toilet or immediately adjacent to the toilet;
    2. be of glazed earthenware or other materials that are smooth, durable, non-absorbent and easily cleaned, with a size of not less than 350 mm in length ( measured between the top inner rims ); and
    3. be connected to public mains water supply or a source approved by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, preferably with both hot and cold water supplies. They should be fitted with a waste pipe with trap before being connected to a proper drainage system.
  3. If the water tap is to supply water intermittently, water should be allowed to run continuously for at least 20 seconds for every supply.


Improper handwashing is a major contributing factor to outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. Provision of proper and adequate handwashing facilities is essential to minimizing food contamination and maintaining personal hygiene. Handwashing with hot water can help remove grease from hands.

2.9 Scullery Facilities

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  1. There should be at least one wash-up sink in every food room and kitchen.
  2. Every wash-up sink should:
    1. be of glazed earthenware, stainless metal or other materials that are smooth, durable, non-absorbent and easily cleaned, with a size of not less than 450mm in length (measured between the top inner rims); and
    2. be connected to public mains water or a source of supply approved by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, preferably with both hot and cold water supplies, and fitted with a waste pipe with trap before being connected to a proper drainage system.
  3. At least one sterilizer of not less than 23-litre capacity should be provided for sterilization of all crockery, glassware and utensils used in the preparation and service of food. Perforated metal or wire dipping trays should be provided to hold the crockery etc. being sterilized. Alternatively, a mechanical dish washer or bactericidal agent of a type approved by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department may be used.


Provision of scullery facilities is crucial to minimizing the risk of contamination of food by removing the debris, soil and bacterial film from utensils and crockery that may come into contact with food. Provision of hot water can help remove grease from utensils.

2.10 Toilet Facilities

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  1. Food premises should have adequate toilets for the use of food handlers and customers.
  2. Unless approved by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, sanitary fitments should be provided to a standard of not less than that required by regulations 5 and 8 of the Building (Standards of Sanitary Fitments, Plumbing, Drainage Works and Latrines) Regulations, Chapter 123I.
  3. Toilets should:
    1. be of adequate size, conveniently located and easily accessible, but should not communicate directly with any food room or require customers to pass through a food room to get to them;
    2. be well ventilated and lit; with all walls, floors and sanitary fitments made of smooth, durable and impervious materials; and
    3. be segregated and provided with separate entrances for persons of either sex and with self-closing doors.


Provision of well-equipped and properly located toilet facilities prevents equipment and food from faecal contamination that may be carried by insects, hands or clothing. A properly maintained toilet can reduce the likelihood of spread of foodborne diseases.

2.11 Sewage and Waste Water Disposal

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  1. All sanitary fitments and handwashing facilities should be connected to a proper sewage or waste water disposal system. Where there is no public sewer serving the premises, sewage / waste water treatment facilities (e.g. a sewage treatment plant), which meet the discharge standards required by the Water Pollution Control Ordinance, Chapter 358, should be installed.
  2. No manhole should be situated inside any kitchen or food room. All soil / waste / rainwater pipes inside any kitchen, food room or seating accommodation should be enclosed in pipe ducts constructed of impervious rust-proofing materials such as stainless steel of 1.6mm or brickwork of 115 mm with plaster on the outside. Suitable inspection openings should be provided for the enclosures.


Sewage and waste water are likely to contain pathogenic organisms. Proper disposal of sewage and waste water is essential to preventing transmission of pathogens in food premises.

2.12 Grease Traps

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  1. All greasy waste water from food premises, especially that from sinks and cooking stove areas, should be collected and discharged to a foul water drain via a grease trap of sufficient capacity to treat a volume of waste water discharged during peak trade hours.
  2. The grease trap should be of such design and construction as to ensure effective removal of grease from entering the sewerage system and be easily accessible for cleaning and inspection (see Diagram 1). It should be fitted with cover made of light but strong material. Underground grease traps should be protected from entry of surface water by raised kerbs or surface channels.


A properly designed and constructed grease trap can effectively remove greasy waste from the waste water before discharged to the sewerage system, thereby minimizing the possibility of clogging of sewers due to accumulation of greasy waste, and reducing the loading of water pollutants.

2.13 Waste Storage

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  1. All areas of food premises that will generate waste or refuse should be provided with at least one waste container for temporary storage of solid waste on the premises. Waste containers should possess the following features:
    1. be sufficient in number to cope with the normal waste yield generated by the food premises while awaiting next waste removal;
    2. be constructed of strong and impervious materials;
    3. be either cylindrical in shape or tapered towards the bottom, with smooth internal surfaces;
    4. be provided with a close fitting cover or lid, and be fitted with handles; and
    5. be easily accessible for use.
  2. Waste storage areas / rooms should be kept away from food rooms / kitchens and be well ventilated if possible. The walls, floors and ceilings should be designed and constructed in such a way that enables them to be easily cleaned.


Solid waste, if not properly contained, attracts pests, contaminates food and causes sanitary nuisances. Proper disposal of waste and maintenance of waste storage facilities prevent entry and harbourage of pests inside and outside food premises, and minimize the likelihood of spread of pathogens.

2.14 Ventilation

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  1. Food premises should have sufficient natural or mechanical ventilation to effectively remove fumes, smoke, steam, heat and condensation arising from the food premises, and supply fresh air thereto. Adequate propulsion fans and extraction fans should be provided, with the point of intake or discharge being in the open air (a space that is vertically uncovered and unobstructed) at a height of not less than 2.5m from the ground level and in such a manner as not to cause a nuisance.
  2. Ventilating systems housed inside restaurants and factory canteens should comply with section 4(1) of the Ventilation of Scheduled Premises Regulation (Cap. 132 subsidiary legislation). A Letter of Compliance for installation of ventilating system shall be obtained from the Director of Fire Services.

2.14.1 Ventilating Systems for estaurants and Factory Canteens

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  1. Where natural ventilation is insufficient for the seating accommodation inside restaurants and factory canteens (i.e. where openings or windows which can be opened to the open air are less than 1/10 of the floor area), a mechanical ventilating system should be provided to give not less than 17m3 of outside air per hour for each person that the premises are designed to accommodate. Seating areas, kitchens / food rooms and toilets should have their own independent ventilating system.
  2. Air filters in every ventilating system should be indicated by filter gauge, filter flag indicator or differential pressure switch.
  3. Every blower fan should be fitted with a fused running hour meter connected to the load side of the fan contactor with a device for recording time in minutes and hours. Each fused running hour meter should be sited in an easily accessible and conspicuous place to facilitate inspection.

2.14.2 Ventilating Systems for Food Rooms and Kitchens

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  1. Cooking range inside kitchens and food rooms should be equipped with an exhaust system that can efficiently and effectively remove all fumes, smoke, steam or any vapour arising from food operations. The design and capacity of the system should always be based on the expected peak load conditions.
  2. The exhaust system should be installed with a metal hood properly connected to an air-duct fitted with an extraction fan of sufficient capacity. All exhaust should be arranged to pass through a grease filter and, if required, an air pollution control equipment (e.g. a water scrubber or electrostatic precipitator) before being discharged into the open air in such a manner and at such a position as not to be a nuisance.
  3. Fresh air supply system fitted with propulsion fans with adequate capacity should be installed in food rooms and kitchens.
  4. If solid fuel or diesel oil is used, all smoke should be discharged through a chimney above the roof level.

[Further details on oily fume and cooking odour problems and possible solutions can be found in the booklet "Control of Oily Fume and Cooking Odour from Restaurants and Food Business" available from the Environmental Protection Department.]


Adequate supply of clean and quality fresh air to food premises is important for preventing contamination of food and equipment and for the good health of the employees and customers. Unclean air, dust, odours, condensation and grease are all essential sources of food and air contaminants, excessive accumulation of which will not only cause harmful effect to the health of employees and customers of food premises, but also pose a fire hazard.

2.15 Equipment

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  1. Food Contact Surfaces of Equipment
    1. "Food contact surfaces" means surfaces that will come into direct contact with unprotected foods. Examples are cooking and processing equipment, knives, chopping boards, eating and drinking utensils, containers in which foods are processed or stored, drink dispensing machines, surfaces of food preparation tables, equipment used to wash food, meat mincers, meat slicers and thermometers, etc.
    2. Food contact surfaces of equipment should :
      1. be made of materials that are corrosion resistant, smooth, non-absorbent, durable, with no toxic effect, and do not pass on colours, odours, tastes or unsafe substances to food;
      2. be impervious to grease, food particles or water;
      3. be free from cracks, crevices, open seams, chips, sharp internal angles or corners;
      4. be finished to have smooth welds and joints;
      5. be easily and effectively cleaned, sanitized; and
      6. be easily accessible for cleaning, sanitizing and inspection (capable of being disassembled if necessary).
    3. Separate knives and chopping boards should be used for cutting up ready-to-eat food and not ready-to-eat food. They should be clearly and conspicuously distinguished, e.g. by using colour code.
  2. Non-Food Contact Surfaces of Equipment

    Non-food contact surfaces of equipment should :

    1. be free from unnecessary projections and crevices; and
    2. be designed and constructed to allow easy cleaning and maintenance.


Food contact surfaces should not introduce into food any substance which may be harmful to the health of consumers, such as migration of copper or lead to acidic food or beverages. Properly designed food contact surfaces can facilitate effective cleaning and sanitizing.

2.16 Lighting

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  1. Adequate natural and / or artificial lighting should be provided in food premises to ensure safe production of food and facilitate cleaning of premises.
  2. All lighting and light fixtures should be designed to avoid accumulation of dirt and be easily cleaned. Lighting fixtures in food preparation areas should be protected with shatter-proof covers to prevent broken glass from falling onto the food, food utensils or food equipment in the event of a breakage.


Adequate lighting facilitates easy identification of dirt, helps maintain the hygienic condition of food premises and promotes safe food production. Protection of lights by shields is important for preventing contamination of food by glass fragments.