Overview of the different labeling and marking requirements, including any restrictive advertising or labeling practices and where to get more information.
The following information on labeling and marking refers to Hong Kong, unless otherwise indicated.
Hong Kong’s non-tariff barriers related to labeling requirements, standards, and other requirements are generally minimal, but are expected to become more restrictive for supplements. Pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs must have indications of dosage and frequency on the label in both Chinese and English.
Food Labeling: Hong Kong’s food labeling regulations are developed and administered by the Food and Hygiene Environmental Department’s Center for Food Safety. According to the Food and Drugs (Composition and Labeling) Regulations (Cap. 132W), the following information should be provided on prepackaged food labels:
- Name of the food
- List of ingredients (including allergens)
- Indication of “use by” or “best before” date
- Statement of special conditions for storage or instructions for use
- Name and address of manufacturer or packer
- Count, weight or volume of food
- Nutrition Information
Stick-on product labels are allowed to remedy any non-compliance issues on pre-existing labels and can be applied by Hong Kong importers with permission of the manufacturer. The labels may be provided in English, Chinese, or both languages. If both languages are used on prepackaged food, the name of the food, ingredient list, and nutritional information must be provided in both languages.
Labeling for Biotech Food Products: The Hong Kong government (HKG) does not require labeling of biotech food products. In 2006, the government issued guidelines for voluntary labeling of biotech foods containing 5 percent or more of an individual biotech food ingredient. Negative labeling is not recommended.
Organic Certification: Hong Kong recognizes USDA organic certification, so products are sold in Hong Kong with the USDA organic logo.
Others: Hong Kong regulates the use of sweeteners, preservatives, coloring matter, metallic contaminants, and pesticides. In the absence of a particular regulation, the Hong Kong government refers to Codex standards and/or conducts a risk assessment to determine applicable import requirements.
For details on Hong Kong’s general import regulations for food products, please refer to Hong Kong GAIN FAIR report or consult Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance and the Food Safety Ordinance.
Consumer Electrical Appliances Labeling: The Hong Kong Government enacted the Energy Efficiency Labeling Ordinance in May 2008 for consumer electrical appliances. The ordinance’s Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labeling Scheme (MEELS) is intended to assist consumers in choosing energy-efficient products. Under the ordinance, the manufacturer/importer’s product must be registered with the Hong Kong Electro-Mechanical Services Department and carry an energy label that complies with specified technical requirements. The ordinance’s first and second phases of implementation covered five types of products sold in Hong Kong: air conditioners, refrigerators, compact fluorescent lamps, washing machines and dehumidifiers. The third phase of MEELS, which was fully implemented in December 2019, has further extended the coverage to three additional types of electrical products, namely televisions, storage type electric water heaters and induction cookers. A Code of Practice (pdf) on Energy Labeling of Products has been approved and issued to provide practical guidance and technical details about the requirements under the Ordinance.