Food licensing process easier with single agency

All food-related licences can be obtained from the new Singapore Food Agency from next April, removing the need for operators to deal with separate agencies.
All food-related licences can be obtained from the new Singapore Food Agency from next April, removing the need for operators to deal with separate agencies. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Mr Andrew Chan, managing director of restaurant chain The Soup Spoon, is glad that the food licensing process will be made easier under the new Singapore Food Agency (SFA).

Currently, food businesses that wish to expand their operations in the food supply chain - for instance, to run a central kitchen - require different licences from the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

From next April, all food-related licences can be obtained from the new SFA, removing the need for operators to deal with diffe-rent agencies.

Mr Chan said he had found it challenging to add a catering function to his central kitchen operations as the two functions require licences from different agencies.

For a single address, he said, only one licence is usually allowed. This means that to add a catering function, he has had to duplicate his operations in another location, which could cost tens of thousands.

"These can be better addressed when the licensing schemes and agencies are compressed into one," he said, referring to the new food agency.

In cases pertaining to food safety, all public feedback will be channelled to the SFA from next April.

 

Currently, NEA, AVA and the Health Sciences Authority regulate food safety across the food supply chain, which may cause confusion in the feedback process.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2018, with the headline 'Food licensing process easier with single agency'. Print Edition | Subscribe