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Beijing to Ban Unlicensed Online Sales of Homemade Food

New statutes are in the pipeline restricting online sales of cooked food in bulk and unpackaged bulk food as well as homemade food by individuals without obtaining food operation licence.

The Beijing Municipal Food and Drug Administration plans to issue a set of provisional administrative measures for the supervision of online food sales business at the end of March, it was learned at a briefing on strengthening the supervision of online sales of food business and laying down of the responsibility of operators. The new measures would mean that online order for meals and "circle of friends’ gourmet" will face more stringent regulation.

According to the Beijing Municipal Food and Drug Administration officials, high-risk raw food such as salmon may not be allowed to be sold online after the new measures take effect. High-risk raw food mainly refers to some animal raw food. Individuals without food operation licence are not allowed to sell online homemade food including the “private nutritious meals" which are popular nowadays.

The officials also said that bacteria grow fast in raw and cold food such as sashimi so more stringent rules are required to regulate online transactions in order to control risk. In addition, food and beverage companies in the form of a central kitchen are not allowed to sell semi-finished food products to consumers through takeaway platform. Delivery of high-risk raw or cold ingredients is not allowed. Means of transport matching with the type of food must be employed in the process of delivery.

In the future, credential information may be obtained from the webpage of the food provider when making order for takeaway. Food operators engaged in online sales shall publish its catering business food safety quantitative classification management information, the main form of business and areas of operation in a prominent position of its homepage or the main page of its business activities section, and indicating the scope of delivery and delivery time; food packaging must be sealed, with label on food processing and production time and use-by date.

Individuals engaged in online sales of self-produced agricultural products are required to do so through third-party platforms. Platform providers should verify and record the authentic identity information of the sellers, and ensure their timely updates.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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