Forum: Science-based and risk management approach taken to food safety

We refer to Ms Tan Saw Bin's letter, "Have certified labels for inspected products" (Nov 15).

Food can potentially be contaminated anywhere along the supply chain, from the time it is produced to the time it is consumed. It is not practical to inspect or label all food in the market.

Similar to what the food safety authorities around the world do, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) adopts a science-based and risk management approach to food safety. This means that food that is more susceptible to food-borne diseases is subjected to more stringent checks.

SFA's food safety regime includes accreditation of sources of high-risk food, post-import sampling, inspection and testing. Both locally produced and imported food must meet SFA's food safety requirements. Products that do not meet safety standards will not be allowed for sale.

When a breach in food safety is detected, SFA will take measures to mitigate risks to consumers, such as recalling the affected products immediately.

SFA also works with other international regulatory agencies and conducts its own horizon scanning to keep abreast with developments that can have an impact on the safety of food sold in Singapore.

However, we need the combined efforts of the Government, the food industry and the consumer to ensure food safety.

While SFA regulates the food industry to ensure that it maintains high food safety standards that comply with our stringent requirements, the industry must also adopt good agricultural and manufacturing practices to ensure that its products are safe for consumption.

Consumers, too, can play a role by making informed decisions when making food purchases and adopting good food safety practices. Consumers can visit SFA's website for tips on safe food selection, handling and storing practices.

Abdul Jalil (Dr)

Senior Director

Joint Operations Division

Singapore Food Agency

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