Customs officers inspect fresh chickens in a factory in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, before they are sent to Macao. (Photo by Yu Bo/For China Daily)
Fresh chickens from the mainland returned to Macao supermarkets on Feb 2, ensuring a plentiful supply for the upcoming Chinese New Year.
The trade in live and fresh poultry from the mainland to the Macao Special Administrative Region was suspended in 2017 as a precaution to prevent the spread of bird flu.
"Fresh poultry" refers to products offered for sale on the day of slaughter.
Customs authorities in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, said they will support enterprises in preparing an adequate supply and expanding production capacity to ensure an ample supply of fresh food to Macao.
To ensure fresh chickens arrive in the Macao market within one and a half hours after leaving factories, customs authorities in Guangdong and Macao have coordinated rapid border-crossing and priority inspection and quarantine procedures.
"Fresh chickens for Macao have a shelf life of 24 hours, requiring higher efficiency in slaughtering, processing, transportation, distribution and customs clearance processes," said Huan Ping, director of the import and export food safety department of Gongbei Customs in Zhuhai.
Companies can choose to supply fresh chickens to Macao via either the Gongbei port or the Zhuhai port.
"Special monitoring plans have been formulated to urge and guide companies to fulfill their primary responsibilities from the source, strengthening raw material control, hygiene control, packaging, storage, transportation and labeling management," said Huan.
"Various customs facilitation measures have been taken to minimize the transportation and distribution time of fresh chickens for Macao, promoting the smooth supply of the first batch of fresh chickens to Macao," she said.
Gongbei Customs is a major source of poultry, meat and seafood for Macao, supplying over 10,000 metric tons of such products annually, according to Huan.
To make it easier for consumers to identify the products, fresh chickens supplied to Macao have rings showing the date of slaughter, with product information, and the date and time of slaughter also printed on the outer packaging.
Due to the traditional dietary habits of Hong Kong and Macao residents, there has always been a demand for the supply of fresh chickens from the mainland, according to Cheong Kuai Tat, head of the Department of Food Safety of the Municipal Affairs Bureau.