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Nov/Dec 2018 Issue
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New Singapore Food Agency to Oversee Food Safety and Security

From 1 April 2019, all food-related functions currently carried out by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), and the National Environment Agency (NEA) will be consolidated under a new statutory board – the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). SFA will be formed under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR).

In parallel, all non-food plant and animal related functions of AVA will be transferred to the National Parks Board (NParks) under the Ministry of National Development (MND). NParks will become the lead agency for animal and wildlife management, as well as animal and plant health.

Transfer of functions

In the interim, AVA, NEA, HSA, and NParks will continue to carry out their existing functions.

Lead Agency to Develop Food Supply and Industry - “From Farm to Fork”

SFA will enhance regulatory oversight over all food-related matters from farm to fork and further strengthen Singapore’s food safety regime. This move will also facilitate better partnership with food businesses to develop new capabilities and more business-friendly regulations.

For example, the harmonising of licensing standards and combining existing licences for farmers, food manufacturers, food retailers, and food service operators will enable these businesses to seamlessly adapt and transform their business models and look at new ways to grow their operations.

With a dedicated agency overseeing food safety regulations across the entire chain, we will be able to strengthen the management of food-borne disease outbreaks through tighter coordination of responses to food-related issues and engagement with various stakeholders and the public. This will enable SFA to address lapses more quickly and more holistically, and will streamline public feedback to one point of contact.

To deepen Singapore’s capabilities in food safety, a National Centre for Food Science (NCFS) will also be established under SFA to consolidate the food laboratory capabilities of the three agencies under one roof. The NCFS will bring together key competencies in food diagnostics and research and development in food safety.

City in a Garden

The transfer of AVA's plant- and animal-related functions will allow NParks to provide one-stop service to Singaporeans and stakeholders on animal management and animal welfare issues, manage human-animal interactions, and improve the detection of and response to zoonotic diseases.

A new Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) will be formed under NParks as the main touch-point on animal-related issues for pet owners, pet businesses, and animal welfare groups. It will also take over AVA’s current role as the first responder for animal-related feedback, and will continue to uphold high standards in animal welfare and health.