The owner of a stall selling refreshments on Tai Mo Shan will attend a meeting with government officials, after the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD)’s refusal to grant it a license to sell cooked food attracted controversy.
The kiosk’s owner, Lin, has been selling hot food such as fishballs and siu mai to hikers on Hong Kong’s highest peak for around 20 years.
However, the kiosk was forced to stop selling cooked food after the FEHD received a complaint last year, claiming that it did not possess the necessary food factory licence.
It is unable to receive a licence because the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) refused to install a water meter at the kiosk
The AFCD told HKFP that it could not install a meter because the kiosk’s location was too isolated, and was not connected to a water pipe from the Water Supplies Department.
Officials from the AFCD and the FEHD have not spoken directly to each other about the issue, HK01 reported.
The local paper added that the kiosk faced a threat of closure, as hikers visit the kiosk mainly for its hot food – rather than pre-packaged food or drinks.
Rising to nearly 1,000 metres in altitude, Tai Mo Shan often features significantly lower temperatures than urban Hong Kong. Winter frosts are common.
Following local media coverage of the controversy, a relative of owner Lin told online outlet Stand News that FEHD officials visited the kiosk on Tuesday evening to better understand its problems. The relative said she would attend a meeting with the department on Wednesday to discuss the granting of a temporary food factory licence.
Lin wrote on Facebook that she also had a solution to the problem of not being able to cook food: “We will put an electric water heater and a microwave oven at our kiosk. You will have to serve yourself, thank you everyone!”
The FEHD told HKFP that it had received a fresh application for a food factory licence from the kiosk, and was processing it in accordance with guidelines.
The AFCD said that it would provide appropriate help to Lin in order to improve the kiosk’s services to hikers. It added that there are a total of seven food kiosks located within Hong Kong’s various country parks, four of which have installed their own water meters.