Food safety and sustainability
3 min

A Balancing Act – Ensuring Food Safety and Sustainability

Posted by: Ong Ru Yan Date: 01 Mar 2024

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) defines and establishes the regulations for food safety and sustainability, including the additives and incidental constituents. The international food standard body that sets these regulatory limits is the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).[1]

Food safety and sustainability have become increasingly important due to climate change causing unexpected dry spells, heat waves, intense rain, hail, and floods. Global geopolitical events such as the Russia-Ukraine war, sanctions, and the energy crisis have disrupted the supply chains and escalated the grain prices in Asia. This makes food safety and sustainability important.[2]

Let us read about the importance of food safety and sustainability, and available Food Safety Management System (FSMS) certifications in Singapore.

Importance of Sustainability in the Food Industry

Singapore currently imports most of its food supply. A poll discovered that 83% of Singaporeans want to reduce reliance on exports and produce domestically. To reduce dependency on international supply chains, the SFA is working on the 30 by 30 goal. This goal aims to build a sustainable domestic agri-food industry that produces 30% of Singapore’s nutritional needs by 2030. The SFA is taking these steps to implement 30 by 30[3] :

  1. Optimising food production and sustainable fish farming
  2. Leveraging the Agri-Cluster Transformation (ACT) fund to make the agri-food sector productive, climate resilient, and resource-efficient
  3. Enhancing farms’ capability upgrades, upscaling, test-bedding, and innovation
  4. Funding innovations in sustainable urban food production, food safety science and innovation, and future foods
  5. Branding and promoting local produce for sustainable growth of local businesses
  6. Offer courses for a skilled agri-food workforce

Singapore faces competing land demands, and only 1% of the area is allocated to traditional farming. This is where technologies such as hydroponics, aquaculture, and multi-level indoor farming technologies bring in environmental sustainability.

Understanding Food Safety Certifications

Individuals through training in food safety, and businesses through food testing and Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS), can support Singapore’s 30 by 30 food security goal. Individuals comprise food handlers or managers working at establishments holding the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) license. As Singapore ramps up local production to achieve the 30 by 30 vision, food handlers can play their part in ensuring the safety of the produce in their daily activities such as manufacturing, preparation, canning, defrosting, cutting, packing, and deboning.[4]

Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) for businesses in Singapore help to identify, prevent, and reduce food-borne diseases at every stage of food handling. They can do so through a holistic system of controls such as[5] :

  1. HACCP Principles – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) take a scientific approach to identifying, preventing, and controlling food-borne hazards.
  2. Basic Programs for Hygiene in Food Handling and Processing – This includes cleaning and sanitation, maintenance and calibration, food safety inspection, pest control, recall and traceability, and cross-contamination prevention.

An accredited FSMS certification comes from a certification body accredited by either of these:

  1. Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) for SS 444, SS 590, and ISO 22000
  2. Signatories of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) multilateral recognition arrangement (MLA) for FSSC 22000 and ISO 22000
  3. Recognised by BRCGS-accredited bodies who are signatories of IAF MLA


Conclusion

Given the small area and competing land demands, balancing food safety with environmental sustainability is critical in Singapore. Individuals and businesses in the food industry can play a part in ensuring safety and sustainability to reduce reliance on imports, meet the 30 by 30 goal, and cater to the increasing demand for local produce.

 

 

References:

  1. https://www.sfa.gov.sg/food-information/regulatory-limits/regulatory-limits
  2. https://www.sfa.gov.sg/food-for-thought/article/detail/a-sustainable-food-system-for-singapore-and-beyond
  3. https://www.ourfoodfuture.gov.sg/30by30/
  4. https://www.sfa.gov.sg/food-retail/information-for-food-handlers/information-for-food-handlers
  5. https://www.sfa.gov.sg/food-retail/food-safety-management-system/food-safety-management-system

 

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