In parallel, all plant and animal matters that are unrelated to food will be transferred from AVA to NParks, which will become the lead agency for animal and wildlife management, as well as animal and plant health.
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, to be formed under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), will enhance regulatory oversight over all food-related matters from farm to fork and further strengthen our food safety regime. This will also facilitate more business-friendly regulations. For example, by harmonising licensing standards and combining existing licenses for farmers, food manufacturers, food retailers, and food service operators, businesses will be able to adapt and transform their business models seamlessly and look at new ways to grow their operations.
As a dedicated agency, SFA will strengthen the management of food-borne disease outbreaks, through tighter coordination of responses to food-related issues, including product tracing and recall, and engagement with various stakeholders and the public. This enables the SFA to address lapses more quickly and more holistically, and streamline public feedback to one point of contact.
To deepen our capabilities in food safety, a National Centre for Food Science (NCFS) will 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
Given our dense urban living environment, there is a need to carefully manage the harmonious co-existence of people with wildlife and domestic animals. 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, to manage human-animal interactions, and to 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 on AVA’s current role as the first responder for animal-related feedback, and continue to uphold high standards in animal welfare and health.
Also, by combining NParks’ expertise in wildlife conservation and horticultural science with AVA’s capabilities in animal health, plant health, and animal management, the efforts to conserve Singapore’s natural heritage will be more holistic.