Starting 1 January 2023, Singapore Food Agency (SFA) will be implementing a new licensing framework for food establishments in order to provide better food safety assurance to customers. The new licensing framework is called Safety Assurance for Food Establishments (SAFE) and will replace the existing letter-grade system—’A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, or ‘D’.
Food establishments will now be distinguished in terms of ‘Bronze’, ‘Silver’, or ‘Gold’ awards, with an estimated 23,000 establishments expected to come under the new SAFE framework. This licensing framework includes both retail and non-retail food establishments. The three awards correspond with a three, five, or 10-year license duration respectively and will be assessed based on their track records.
Factors taken into consideration include having no major food safety lapses over a period of time and being able to implement measures and systems that can strengthen food safety assurance. Inspections will be carried out to ensure compliance with food safety requirements.
Under the new licensing framework, establishments that have demonstrated a consistent track record of food safety will be eligible for longer license durations and higher award tiers, although the license durations for food stalls within hawker centres, canteens, food courts, and coffee shops are still dependent on their tenancy agreement period.
Tan Lee Kim, the Director-General and Food Administration and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of SFA explained that the new SAFE framework is a better system, as it takes into account the ongoing performance of food establishments, unlike the current A, B, C, D framework, which only presents an annual “snapshot” audit of a food outlet’s hygiene and food standards.
To support and complement the new licensing framework, SFA has also launched a training framework, with four levels of Food Safety Courses (FSCs) for workers in food establishments. These food establishments will be informed in 2022 of their award tiers, based on their track record of food safety standards.
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