FEHD conducts blitz operations to combat illegal wastewater discharge from food premises

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27th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) announced today that it has recently carried out a series of targeted operations in Kowloon City, Wong Tai Sin, and Kwun Tong districts to combat the illegal discharge of wastewater into roadside gullies by food premises. These operations involved rigorous inspections and strict enforcement measures with the aim of preserving environmental hygiene.

Over a span of five consecutive days, from 20th to 24th May, FEHD officers conducted blitz inspections at a total of 110 licensed and permitted food premises in the aforementioned districts. These inspections were specifically designed to crack down on food business operators who were illegally discharging wastewater into roadside gullies or engaging in improper wastewater disposal practices through sculleries and food preparation areas that led to the discharge of wastewater into storm drains. As a result of these operations, the FEHD issued 12 fixed penalty notices and initiated three prosecutions against the offenders in accordance with the Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulation (Cap. 132BK) and the Food Business Regulation (Cap. 132X).

A spokesperson for the FEHD emphasised the importance of curbing the illegal discharge of wastewater by food premises, as it not only impacts local environmental hygiene but can also lead to sea pollution. The department maintains a zero-tolerance policy towards such violations and will take immediate enforcement action upon discovery, without any prior warnings.

Food business operators were reminded that they must adhere to licensing conditions, including the prohibition of food waste and wastewater disposal in rear lanes and surface channels. Compliance with the Food Business Regulation (Cap. 132X) and the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132), as well as relevant provisions on food safety and environmental hygiene, is mandatory for all food premises. Failure to comply may result in prosecution.

To further deter non-compliance, the FEHD has implemented a demerit points system for licensed food premises. Accumulation of a specified number of demerit points within a designated timeframe can lead to immediate suspension of the license. Continued violations may result in license cancellation. Additionally, under the warning letter system, the FEHD may consider cancelling the licenses of food premises that repeatedly breach requirements or conditions despite receiving prior warnings.

According to the Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulation (Cap. 132BK), individuals who dispose of waste, including wastewater, in public areas commit an offence and can face a maximum fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for six months upon conviction. The FEHD also has the authority to issue a fixed penalty notice of $3,000 to offenders under the Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance (Cap. 570).