Home bakers must be mindful of responsibility towards customers

We thank Mr Denis Edward ("Clamping down on home bakers will not benefit sector"; Tuesday) and Ms Chong Siew Yen ("Get tough on unlicensed home bakers"; March 17) for their feedback.

The Housing and Development Board's (HDB) Home Based Small Scale Business Scheme and the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) Small Business Guidelines allow small-scale home-based business to be conducted, as long as it does not cause disturbance or inconvenience to neighbouring residents.

Residential premises are not allowed to be used as a restaurant, food shop or food-catering establishment. There should not be external signboards or advertisements promoting the business.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) does not regulate such home-based businesses.

Residents intending to conduct small-scale business from their home premises should, however, note the various conditions laid out by the HDB and URA.

Guidelines on good food hygiene practices for residents preparing food under HDB/URA's home-based small-scale business scheme are available on NEA's website (http://www.nea.gov.sg/ docs/default-source/public-health/food-hygiene/guidelines.pdf).

Members of the public are advised to buy food from NEA-licensed premises, to ensure that the food they consume is prepared hygienically in premises equipped with the necessary facilities.

All licensed premises are inspected regularly for compliance with NEA's licensing requirements, such as approval from the relevant authorities, infrastructural design requirements and hygienic practices.

Home-based businesses involved in selling food to the public are not regulated as such, but should be mindful of their responsibility towards their customers and ensure that good hygiene practices are observed at all times.

Members of the public who notice any hygiene lapses are encouraged to contact NEA on 1800-2255532 or via the MyENV app.

Adeline Oi Kheng Leong (Ms)

Director

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department

National Environment Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2016, with the headline 'Home bakers must be mindful of responsibility towards customers'. Print Edition | Subscribe