September 29, 2003



Hong Kong Reduces Sale Of Fresh Chicken


Under a proposed rule by the Hong Kong government, freshly killed chickens will only be allowed to be sold at three or four markets. These markets will be located next to regional slaughterhouses -- one each on Hong Kong island and Kowloon, and possibly two in the New Territories.

Hong Kong Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene Gregory Leung Wing-lap said the proposal has taken into consideration the poultry trade's interests and the government's duty to protect public health. If adopted, this new rule would mean that other markets in the city could only sell chilled and frozen chicken.

Tsui Ming-tuen, chairman of the Hong Kong Live Poultry Wholesale Association, said the proposal to set up just three or four designated fresh chicken markets was unfeasible.

In August, Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, head of the government's "Team Clean," laid down four options for the future of poultry sales.

The first is a complete ban on the sale of live poultry, giving buyers access to only chilled and frozen poultry. The second option is a ban of retail sales of live poultry but allowing importation from the mainland and local farms. All live poultry would be killed at a central slaughterhouse and chilled before delivery to markets.

The third option is similar, but the slaughtered poultry would not go through the chilling process at the slaughterhouse, being sold rather as "warm" meat. Under the fourth option, live chickens would be segregated from customers at markets with plastic screens.

Chicken farmers and traders protested against central slaughtering, saying such a radical step would seriously compromise their livelihood.