Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Checks and Enforcement for Hygiene Lapses by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Checks and Enforcement for Hygiene Lapses
Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) what is the Ministry doing to step up checks and enforcement on food and beverage outlets and catering companies to make sure there are no hygiene lapses; and (b) how does the Ministry help these outlets and companies to make improvements especially during this COVID-19 pandemic period whereby they face manpower constraints.
All food establishments, including food and beverage outlets and caterers, are licensed by SFA. SFA conducts regular inspections on food establishments to ensure that they comply with regulatory requirements, and more inspections are conducted for higher risk establishments. SFA also investigates public feedback on food safety. Besides taking enforcement action, SFA officers will engage and educate licensees on the required corrective actions.
From March 2020 to February 2021, SFA conducted more than 63,000 inspections on food establishments. The number of enforcement actions taken for food safety lapses has remained stable. SFA will step up inspections and other efforts if needed.
Food safety is a joint responsibility. While SFA will continue to regulate the food sector, food establishment operators must ensure that they provide safe food to consumers. Operators must also ensure that their food handlers successfully complete the Food Safety Course Level 1, which will equip them with food safety and hygiene knowledge, prior to deployment. Consumers must also play their part to upkeep high standards of food, environmental and personal hygiene at all times.
Given the serious consequences, my Ministry and SFA take a serious view on the importance of food safety. Food establishments must continue to exercise diligence in adopting good food safety management and practices, particularly during this COVID-19 period.
While COVID-19 is not transmitted by food, SFA has issued advisories and stepped up engagement during this period with food establishments on safe distancing management and cleanliness of their premises. This will reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19, and help ensure that food establishments can continue to operate.