The Hong Kong government notifies WTO members that it enacted its first-ever Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation in June 2012.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
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GAIN Report Number: HK1216
Post: Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation Enacted
Agriculture in the News
FAIRS Subject Report
The Hong Kong government notifies WTO members that it enacted its first-ever Pesticide
Residues in Food Regulation in June 2012. The Regulation will enter into force on August 1,
2014, following a two-year grace period which is provided to trade to familiarize themselves
with the new Regulation.
The Hong Kong government introduced the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation to the
Legislative Council in May 2012. It was enacted with no amendments being made before the
deadline of June 6. This is Hong Kong’s first-ever piece of regulation specifically governing
pesticide residues in food and will enter into force on August 1, 2014, following a two-year
grace period. The Hong Kong government notifies WTO members in June following the
enactment of the Regulation.
The Hong Kong government first introduced a public consultation on its proposed regulatory
framework for pesticide residues in food in 2007. After public discussion and consultations,
the proposed framework finally has been modified to its present format. The final list of
maximum residue limits (MRLs) consists of 360 pesticides and residue limits for over 7,000
pesticide-food pairs. The list is basically based on MRLS and extraneous maximum residue
limits (EMRLs) recommended by Codex supplemented by those adopted by China, the U.S. and
Thailand as they are major produce suppliers to Hong Kong. The Regulation also includes a list
of 78 exempted pesticides.
The MRL/EMRLs and Exemption Lists included in the Regulation are available at the following
Under the Regulation, the Hong Kong government will incorporate Codex updates into Hong
Kong’s Regulation in the future but there are no specifics as to how frequent it will be
updated. Also, there exists a mechanism which allows applications for new/revised
MRLs/EMRLs and exempted pesticides. All applications will be free of charge.
Key Features of the Regulation
To define "pesticide" and other related terms in a way consistent with the Codex
Alimentarius Commission (Codex);
To provide a list of maximum residue limits (MRLs)/extraneous maximum residue limits
(EMRLs), to adopt MRLs/EMRLs recommended by Codex as the backbone as well as the
Codex classification of foods;
To prohibit the import and sale of the concerned food for which no MRL/EMRL has been
specified, unless the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene (DFEH) is satisfied
that the detected level will not be dangerous or prejudicial to health;
To provide a list of exempted substances;
To commence the proposed Regulation after a two-year grace period.