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CHAPTER 4
SAFE FOOD HANDLING

4.1 Food Sources

Food premises should obtain food and food ingredients from approved sources (or sources that are approved by the regulatory authority having jurisdiction).

Examples of approved sources are:

  1. Local Foods Manufactured by Licensed Food Premises

    The following food items should be supplied from licensed food premises or other approved sources:

    1. siu mei and lo mei;
    2. bakery products;
    3. frozen confections and milk;
    4. sushi, sashimi and oysters / meat to be eaten in raw state; and
    5. meat and meat products.
  2. Imported Foods for Sale in Hong Kong

    The following food items should be imported from sources approved by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department:

    1. imported meat, game, poultry and eggs; and
    2. imported milk and frozen confections.

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4.2 Food Receiving

Food products should be inspected as they are received to ensure that:

  1. they are protected from contamination;
  2. if of potentially hazardous food, it is kept at a temperature of:
    1. 4 o C or below; or
    2. 60 o C or above;
  3. if of potentially hazardous food intended to be received frozen, it should be in a frozen state when it is accepted; and
  4. if of pre-packaged food, the time gap between the date of receiving and "Use By" or "Best Before" date should be sufficient to avoid expiration of stock.

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4.3 Food Storage

  1. Raw materials should be stored in a clean and well ventilated storage place as quickly as possible after delivery.
  2. Raw materials should be stored and maintained under conditions that can protect them against spoilage, contamination or damage.
  3. Potentially hazardous food should be stored:
    1. at or below 4 o C or at or above 60 o C; and
    2. frozen if it is intended to be stored frozen (preferably stored at -18 o C or below).

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4.4 Food Handling

4.4.1 Thawing

  1. When thawing is carried out as an operation separated from cooking, it should be performed in:
    1. a refrigerator or thawing cabinet maintained at 8 o C or below;
    2. cold running potable water; or
    3. a microwave oven.
  2. Unless thawed food is processed immediately, it should be held at 8 o C or below (preferably at 4 o C or below) until it is used. Food thawed in microwave ovens should be cooked immediately.

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4.4.2 Cooking

  1. The time and temperature of cooking should be sufficient to reduce any foodborne pathogen that may be present in the food to an acceptable level.
  2. When cooking raw animal food (for example poultry, pork, minced meat), the centre of the food should reach a temperature of at least 75 o C for 15 seconds, or an effective time / temperature combination (for example, 65 o C for 10 minutes, 70 o C for 2 minutes).

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4.4.3 Hot Holding

Potentially hazardous food that has been prepared, cooked, and is to be served hot, should be held at a temperature of at least 60 o C.

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4.4.4 Cooling after Cooking

Potentially hazardous food that has been cooked, and is intended to be kept under refrigerated storage prior to serving, should be cooled:

  1. from 60 o C to 20 o C within 2 hours or less; and
  2. from 20 o C to 4 o C within 4 hours or less.

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4.4.5 Reheating of Food

Potentially hazardous food that has been previously cooked and cooled, when reheated, should be reheated to 75 o C or above as quickly as possible. Normally, the reheating time needed should not exceed 2 hours. It should not be cooled and reheated for a second time.

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4.4.6 Preventing Food from Contamination

When processing food, adequate steps should be taken to prevent food from contamination. For example, food handlers should avoid contacting ready-to-eat food with bare hands; raw or unprocessed food should be kept separate from ready-to-eat food; food contact surfaces should be kept clean and sanitized between uses; and ready-to-eat food under refrigerated storage should be stored above raw meat and fish products.

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4.5 Food Displaying and Serving

Food under display should be properly protected from all risks of contamination. Operators of food premises should:

  1. securely wrap packaged food and cover unpackaged ready-to-eat food when displaying such food;
  2. provide separate and suitable utensils for each type of food when displaying unpackaged ready-to-eat food for self service to protect the food from cross-contamination; and
  3. display potentially hazardous food at 4 o C or below, or at 60 o C or above.

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4.6 Time as a Safety Control

Potentially hazardous food that is intended for immediate consumption may be displayed or held for service at temperatures between 4 o C and 60 o C for a period of not more than 4 hours, otherwise it should be discarded.

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4.7 Food Packaging

  1. Packaging materials and design should provide adequate protection for the food to be packed to minimize contamination and prevent damage.
  2. Packaging and wrapping of food should be carried out under hygienic conditions to protect the food from risks of contamination.

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4.8 Food Transportation

  1. Food during transportation should be protected from risks of contamination.
  2. Potentially hazardous food, when being transported, should:
    1. be kept at or below 4 o C, or at or above 60 o C;
    2. remain frozen when it is intended to be transported frozen; and
    3. preferably, be transported in vehicles fitted with refrigeration equipment when it is required to be kept cold during transportation.

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4.9 Food Disposal

Food that has been found or suspected to be unsafe or unsuitable (e.g. food that is subject to recall or has been returned, temperature abused, contaminated or damaged) should be rejected or identified, kept separately and disposed of as quickly as possible. It should never be available for human consumption.

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CHAPTER III