How AVA ensures safety of local and imported food

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA), which oversees food safety here, says it adopts a risk-based approach that is based on international standards.

This means assessing the likelihood and severity of food safety hazards, a process that begins even before foodstuffs are imported into Singapore.

The AVA only allows the import of certain food types from accredited establishments in approved countries.

This includes livestock, meat, eggs and related products which are more likely to carry animal and food-borne diseases.

Canned food may be imported from any country, as well as fish, seafood, fruit and vegetables. The AVA also adopts other measures to mitigate risks to consumers.

Both local and imported foodstuffs are subjected to sampling and inspection at the point of import, as well as in farms, abattoirs, food processing factories and retail markets.

Samples are sent for laboratory tests, based on the AVA's risk assessment standards.

Both local and imported foodstuffs are subjected to sampling and inspection at the point of import, as well as in farms, abattoirs, food processing factories and retail markets.

Food that is more susceptible to food-borne diseases is subjected to more stringent checks, regardless of its country of origin.

Samples are tested for a wide range of food-borne hazards, such as chemical contaminants like pesticide residue, heavy metals and drug residue. Tests also look out for harmful bacteria such as E coli, Salmonella and Listeria.

Food found to be unsafe will not be allowed for sale.

When a breach of food safety in detected, the AVA will take measures such as investigating the cause of the contamination.

It will then advise on measures to prevent recurrence of the incident, such as immediately recalling the affected products, or confiscating and destroying the affected items.

Low De Wei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2018, with the headline 'How AVA ensures safety of local and imported food'. Print Edition | Subscribe