AVA regulations to encourage innovation in food manufacturing sector: Koh Poh Koon

SINGAPORE - To encourage innovation in the food manufacturing sector and support the development of "novel foods" such as laboratory-grown meat, food safety regulations will be made easier to comply with.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is looking at developing a new regulatory framework to provide greater clarity on the approval processes for novel food products, Senior Minister of State for National Development and Trade And Industry Koh Poh Koon said at the Food Safety Awards on Friday (July 7).

More niche and novel foods, such as acai berries from South America, are entering the market as a reflection of a more sophisticated citizenry and the spending power of a rising middle class, said Dr Koh.

The AVA will also work with businesses during the early stages of development to ensure safety standards are met, he said.

"Previously, AVA came in to approve new products just before launch. As extensive efforts in product development had already taken place, problems detected at this stage meant that efforts could be put to waste," said Dr Koh.

Dr Koh also urged the industry to do more to embrace technology, and to leverage Singapore's reputation for food safety to tap into larger markets.

The AVA Food Safety Awards, which recognise food factories that maintain high standards of food safety, had 170 receipients this year.