Time of reckoning for Guangdong vegetables

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 October, 2011, 12:00am


Hongkongers may be able to check if vegetables from Guangdong are safe to eat by scanning a barcode in the supermarket.

The Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, which monitors up to 80 per cent of vegetables sent to the city, has developed an electronic system to trace the supply chain.

Farms and processing centres will have to enter details - such as their company names, the fertilisers they use, harvest time and whether they hold organic certificates - into a database. Quarantine officers will also input test results.

The information could be retrieved by passing the barcode on the packaged vegetables under a scanner in the supermarket or by entering the code number into a computer.

The bureau launched the 3 million yuan (HK$3.65 million project last year and began a trial at Dongsheng Farm, a company with eight branches, two months ago. All information about its vegetables is now accessible to quarantine officers, but not the public. The trial will be expanded to cover more farms.

Meanwhile, the bureau and the University of Hong Kong may set up a server to store the information in Hong Kong. The bureau and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department are still deciding whether local authorities should supply results of food safety tests to the system.

A launch date has yet to be set.


Huge exporter Dongsheng Farm sells up to this many tonnes of vegetables to Hong Kong and Macau every day