Self-service buffets in Singapore allowed to resume from April 30: SFA

Eateries offering self-service buffets will be required to provide hand sanitisers or disposable gloves for their patrons. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Diners can help themselves to food at buffets from Saturday (April 30) when self-service buffets will be allowed to resume, said the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) on Friday.

Eateries offering self-service buffets will be required to provide hand sanitiser or disposable gloves for their patrons, said a joint statement on safe management measures at food and beverage outlets issued by five agencies.

They are SFA, Enterprise Singapore, the Housing  Board, Singapore Tourism Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The statement said: “Food and beverage establishments and caterers that provide self-service buffet lines within their establishments or event premises will be required to provide an adequate number of hand sanitiser or disposable gloves in the vicinity of a self-service buffet, with all starting points covered.”

It added that the hand sanitiser must contain at least 60 per cent alcohol.

Food and beverage establishments are also strongly encouraged to remind patrons to use the hand sanitiser or disposable gloves when at the self-service buffet counters, said the statement.

"It is important to provide clean serving cutlery such as spoons, tongs and ladles, to discourage patrons from picking up food using their own cutlery," said SFA in its statement.

SFA said serving cutlery should also be frequently cleaned or replaced with clean ones. This is required even if the self-service buffet is held outside the licensed food establishment.

If employees are serving the food to customers, hand sanitiser or disposable gloves need not be provided.

"However, the service staff should handle ready-to-eat food with clean serving cutlery or gloves," said SFA.

Where the food is not served in chafing dishes with attached covers, establishments are strongly encouraged to erect plastic or glass barriers to protect food from exposure to environmental contamination or respiratory droplets from patrons queueing at buffet lines.

SFA listed food safety practices that food and beverage outlets must comply with, such as not handling ready-to-eat food with bare hands or used cutlery, and storing raw food and cooked food separately.

Chefs must also cook food thoroughly and ensure the cooked food is kept out of the temperature danger zone of between 5 deg C and 60 deg C until serving.

Eateries should also ensure the premises are free of pest infestation and that staff engaged in sales and food and drinks preparation are wearing masks at all times.

Self-service buffets were taken off the menu since the circuit breaker period in April 2020. 

While buffets were allowed to resume in April 2021, the food had to be served by restaurant staff.  

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.