Food handlers, such as chefs, kitchen assistants and food processing workers, oversee the entire food preparation journey to guarantee not just flavour, but more importantly, food safety.
Behind every meal lies the effort of food handlers (FHs). These individuals, ranging from chefs, kitchen assistants to food processing workers, play an indispensable role in every part of the food preparation journey – from working with raw ingredients to plating the dish. They make sure that each culinary creation is both flavourful, and more importantly, safe for human consumption.
Prior to engaging in food preparation, FHs must attend and pass the Food Safety Course (FSC) Level 1 or Level 2, which is conducted by Approved Training Organisations. FHs are also required to attend refresher training. This is part of Singapore's efforts to ensure stringent food safety practices, and help equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to uphold food safety standards.
To ensure FH comply with these requirements, officers from the SFA verify the credentials of FHs when they conduct checks at food establishments. “An integral part of SFA’s operations is conducting checks to ensure that only trained FHs are involved in handling food in SFA-licensed food establishments. The ability of our officers to verify that the FHs are trained is therefore critical,” explains Simon Teng, a senior manager from SFA’s Licensing Division.
With the increasing number of food establishments over the years and more FHs seeking training, the challenges placed on SFA officers have intensified. To address these challenges, SFA developed the Food Handler Digital DataHub (FHD2Hub), a platform that is part of SFA's broader digitalisation plan.
An SFA officer verifying a food handler’s identity using te FHD2Hub phlatform on his tablet.
FHD2Hub: A combination of technology and rules to redefine efficiency
The FHD2Hub comprises an internet platform for external stakeholders such as licensees to register their food handlers, and an intranet platform for SFA officers’ use.
Together with Project Lead Jannie Wan, a deputy director from SFA’s Licensing Division, Teng worked with the appointed vendor, and colleagues from SFA’s Science and Technology and Joint Operations Divisions, to develop the platform. This was a year-long endeavour.
With the platform launched in April 2023, Png Luqiang, who leads the Enforcement and Compliance team at SFA’s Southeast Regional Office, shares his perspectives on FHD2Hub’s impact in Singapore’s food safety compliance landscape:
Having experienced the benefits of FHD2Hub, Png appreciates its user-friendly interface and the convenience of quickly accessing results. He shares, “I like the ease of getting results at my fingertips, and being able to inform food business operators on the spot about the expiration status of their FHs’ certification.”
SFA officer Simon Teng logging into FHD2Hub in his office. He was part of the team that developed the platform.
While the implementation of the FHD2Hub boosts operational efficiency and empowers all stakeholders involved, Teng takes particular pride in FHD2Hub’s integration capabilities. The fact that the datahub can potentially accommodate additional functions such as data analytics, through future enhancements, amplifies its value in supporting SFA’s initiatives.
“I also hold a sense of accomplishment knowing that my work has contributed to improved processes for food business operators and my colleagues who conduct food safety checks,” Teng adds.
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© 2023 Singapore Food Agency
Last updated on Tuesday, April 14, 2020