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PRESS RELEASE

New survey illustrates extent of food hygiene
shortfall in Hong Kong
PARKnSHOP announces programme of investment to help its suppliers to respond

(HONG KONG, May 5, 2000) A new survey on food hygiene standards jointly released today by PARKnSHOP, Hong Kong's biggest supermarket chain, the Hong Kong Productivity Council, and conducted by the Social Sciences Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong, shows a significant shortfall in Hong Kong's food hygiene compared to the world's leading standards.

The survey, conducted by telephone and covering suppliers / manufacturers from across Hong Kong's diverse food industry rated respondents on 20 factors related to effective food hygiene management. These covered areas ranging from safety checks and controls on raw materials to availability of food safety procedures, to pest control standards, to methods of storing and transporting food products.

The survey benchmarked its results against the standards laid down in the "Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice: Fresh Produce, a Guide to Compliance to the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations of 1995 from the UK", regarded as representing a 'world's best' standard on food hygiene.

The survey results show a high degree of non-compliance in many key areas right across Hong Kong's food industry.

* 57% of respondents had no written food handling procedures

* 59% of respondents did not have adequate temperature controls in operation

* 47% of respondents did not have protective clothing / hair covering for their workers

* 43% of respondents did not subject raw materials to food safety testing.

Overall, levels of conformance to good food hygiene practice were well below those reported for similar businesses in the UK.

"Although Hong Kong has attained world-class status in many aspects of modern life, including our telecommunications infrastructure and computer usage, the standard of our food hygiene still leaves much room for improvement," said Dr S W Lui, Branch Director, Material and Process from the Hong Kong Productivity Council. "We hope this survey will have a far-reaching impact on Hong Kong's food industry in general. Adopting food safety measures that conform to international standards can help a company enhance its reputation, inspire customer confidence in its products and create a competitive advantage for it in the market - and also, bring along with it a better quality of life to the people of Hong Kong," he added.

The survey, commissioned by PARKnSHOP, Hong Kong's biggest supermarket chain, also split out a sample of PARKnSHOP suppliers to compare their results with the rest of the food industry.

Consistently, the results obtained from PARKnSHOP suppliers were significantly better than those for the rest of the industry, although still not at the levels demanded by the UK regulations.

"We are pleased to see that the food hygiene standards of our suppliers are generally better than those of other food manufacturers in Hong Kong" said Andrew Brent, Marketing Director of PARKnSHOP. "We regard this as important evidence of the success of our Fresh Check campaign, which we launched back in 1998 specifically to raise our food hygiene standards," he continued.

Nevertheless, the survey shows that despite the success, PARKnSHOP has not yet at the world class levels it aspires to.

Because of this, PARKnSHOP is announcing today a programme of substantial investment to help its fresh food suppliers to improve their standards of food hygiene. Under the 'Fresh Partnership 2000' programme PARKnSHOP will invest its resources to provide its fresh food suppliers with:

- personalised hygiene consultancy programmes

- tailored Hygiene Improvement Plans for their business

- Management Hygiene Seminars made available to all of our fresh food suppliers

- where appropriate, extended hygiene training for employees of selected supplier companies

"We believe this is the first time a Hong Kong retailer has invested its money and resources directly in improving the hygiene standards of its suppliers. We also believe that the Hong Kong Productivity Council survey illustrates the need for this type of coordinated action. By working in partnership with our suppliers in this way we hope to achieve PARKnSHOP's Goal of providing fresh food whose hygiene and safety standards match the very best in the world", said Mr Brent.

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For Media Enquiry:
Teresa Pang of PARKnSHOP at media hotline: 2687 5602