Hutchison Whampoa

Shops attack plan to alter meat-sales law

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 May, 2006, 12:00am

A government proposal aimed at stopping shops passing off chilled meat as fresh by banning the sale of both under one roof would reduce choice for a million shoppers if implemented, Wellcome supermarket chain said yesterday.

Legislators will consider the proposal today.

The company said a survey of its customers found overwhelming support for retaining both fresh and chilled meat in stores.

The government will make its case for prohibiting the sale of fresh and chilled or frozen pork, beef and mutton at the same premises to a Legislative Council panel.

It plans to table an amendment to Legco next month.

The measure would affect 337 shops - 220 of them supermarkets outlets - and 37 stalls at public markets. It would come ahead of the launch of supplies of chilled pork from the mainland.

Wellcome said the issue was law enforcement, adding that existing legislation making it an offence to mislead consumers was sufficient.

'Only enforcement of existing laws will stop unscrupulous pork traders selling chilled pork as fresh,' the chain said.

A survey by Market Dynamics of 450 shoppers on Wednesday found 87 per cent wanted both fresh and chilled meat available in the same supermarket, Wellcome said.

Seventy-four per cent believed there was no health concern arising from the sale of fresh and chilled meat in the same shop.

Wellcome suggested chilled pork from the mainland be marked with special stickers or sold pre-packed, as with chilled chicken.

'Take exactly the same approach with pork and you've got consistency,' said Mark Garwood, the chain's marketing and development director.

ParknShop also opposed the plan. A spokeswoman said: 'It will limit consumer choice as they can no longer enjoy one-stop shopping. We also think it is unnecessary on public health grounds.'