Food Safety Management System for the Hospitality Industry

Food Safety Management System for the Hospitality Industry

Posted by: Ong Ru Yan Date: 16 Feb 2024

SAFETY ASSURANCE FOR FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS (SAFE) FRAMEWORK

 

In the hospitality industry, the primary goal is to provide guests with an enjoyable experience. Whether through spacious accommodations, vibrant welcome drinks, or sumptuous breakfast buffets, ensuring each guest feels well cared for is paramount. Amidst the focus on enjoyment, it is equally crucial not to overlook the importance of food safety, whether in the welcome drink or breakfast offerings.

 

A new licensing framework for food establishments in Singapore called the Safety Assurance for Food Establishments (SAFE), was announced by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) in 2021. Given the feedback received from the industry and to allow more time for the industry to prepare for the transition, the SAFE framework will now be implemented in July 2025.

 

Under the SAFE framework, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) will closely monitor food establishments classified in higher risk categories, particularly those engaged in moderate to significant food handling practices like food manufacturers and caterers, to ensure appropriate Food Safety Management System (FSMS) plans. Notably, food establishments in Category A (food establishments involved in significant food handling practices such as caterers) are required to implement accredited Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) and appoint a trained Advanced Food Hygiene Officer (FHO) to establish, monitor, and maintain proper food safety assurance measures to attain a Gold award.

 

Now, take a look at your SFA licence. Does your business trade description fall under the categories of food caterer, canteen with catering, restaurant with catering, and/or in-house kitchen? If so, this article is definitely worth your attention!

 

 

WHAT IS FOOD SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (FSMS) AUDIT?

 

An FSMS is a framework to identify, analyse and reduce potential food safety hazards to ensure the safety of food products and services for their intended use. The FSMS audit is a systematic, independent and documented process to acquire audit evidence and assess the organisation's capacity to deliver safe food products and services as intended.

 

The most common FSMS certifications adopted in Singapore are as follows:

  • SS 444
  • SS 590
  • ISO 22000
  • FSSC 22000
  • BRC Global Food Standards

 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET CERTIFIED?

 

Typically, the entire process takes about six to nine months, from establishing to certifying the system. However, engaging an external consultant to set up the system may take just four to six months.

 

 

KEY MILESTONES IN THE FSMS CERTIFICATION PROCESS

  1. Assemble Food Safety Team

    The team should be multidisciplinary and comprise representatives from various departments familiar with the kitchen operations, including the Executive Chef, Operations Manager, Quality Assurance, Procurement, Engineering, Stewarding and Warehouse personnel. The key task of the team is to identify and analyse food safety hazards from different perspectives.

  2. Training Provision

    In adopting an FSMS, ensuring the food safety team is trained to identify, analyse, and control hazards effectively is important. They must also understand the standards' requirements. Therefore, attending awareness training or internal auditor training is essential. It is crucial that the training attended by the members aligns with or exceeds the standards for which the organisation is seeking certification. For instance, if the organisation certifies for SS590: 2013 requirements, the team can attend ISO 22000: 2018 Internal Auditor Training.

  3. Setting up and Implementation of FSMS

    With an understanding of standard requirements, the team utilises their technical knowledge to establish the FSMS. At this juncture, the organisation may engage the expertise of an external consultant to aid in the FSMS setup. The consultant offers guidance to ensure proper system implementation, emphasizing the importance of maintaining essential documents and records to demonstrate the organisation's commitment to ensuring FSMS during audits.

    Establishing a robust FSMS requires the involvement of every individual across all organisational levels. Awareness training for ground staff, such as kitchen crews, will strengthen their commitment to following the organisation's FSMS standards.

    During certification audits, auditors seek evidence to evaluate the organisation's ability to deliver safe food products and services. The audit evidence could be gathered through site-walk observation, staff interviews, and documentation review. Thus, maintaining and retaining documents and records is essential in demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to FSMS. For assistance in preparing your certification audit, you may approach our friendly sales personnel here!

  4. Certification Audit 
    Once the organisation’s FSMS is ready, it is time to arrange for the audit. There will be a Stage 1 and Stage 2 audit for all accredited certification audits. Stage 1 audit is for the qualified management system auditor to evaluate the readiness of the organisation’s FSMS. The Stage 1 audit follows the Stage 2 audit, where the actual Certification Audit will be conducted.

    During the Stage 2 audit, the auditor may identify some audit gaps to strengthen the FSMS. After the gaps are closed, the certification will be granted.

    To attain an accredited FSMS certification, the organisation’s FSMS has to be certified by a certification body which is accredited by an accreditation body. The recognised accreditation bodies under the SAFE framework are:

    • Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) for ISO 22000, SS 590 and SS 444; or
    • Accreditation bodies which are signatories of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) multilateral recognition arrangement (MLA) for ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 or
    • Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standards (BRCGS)- recognized accreditation bodies which are signatories of the IAF MLA

 

The diagram below illustrates the certification process.

Food Safety Management System for the Hospitality Industry

 

HOW CAN TÜV SÜD HELP YOU WITH THE SAFE FRAMEWORK?

How can TÜV SÜD help you with the SAFE Framework? At TÜV SÜD, we take pride in offering accredited FSMS certification services that uphold the highest standards of excellence. Our range of certifications includes ISO 22000, SS 590, SS 444, and FSSC 22000. Beyond mere audits, we are committed to providing holistic support to enhance our clients' FSMS. From certification to food testing, inspection, and training programs, we believe in delivering value-added solutions that empower our clients to achieve excellence in food safety management.

For food establishments under Category A of the SAFE framework aiming to achieve a Gold Award, the trained Advanced Food Hygiene Officer (FHO) has to pass Food Safety Course Level 4 or WSQ Apply Food Safety Management System for Food Service Establishments or Lead Auditor course (IRCA certified). At TÜV SÜD, we also provide CQI/IRCA certified Lead Auditor courses. You may check out our ISO 22000:2018 Lead Auditor Course and FSSC 22000 FSMS Lead Auditor Course.

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