Food Import & Export

Commercial Food Exports

SFA regulates the export and transshipment of meat, fish and eggs*. Traders of these foods are required to obtain the relevant licences and permits before export or transshipment.

Exporting refers to sending food out of Singapore and into another country/region.

Transshipping refers to transporting food between countries/regions via Singapore. 

*Separate requirements apply to the transshipment of fresh eggs. See section 'Transshipping Fresh Eggs via Singapore' below for more information.

What to Do before Exporting or Transshipping

The diagram below summarises the requirements and procedures for exporting food out of Singapore.

Infographic on Steps to Export Food

1. Check your product export eligibility

Before you export any food product or to a new destination, find out the requirements of the country/region of destination to confirm if your product is eligible for entry. 

You can find this information on the websites of the competent authority of the country/region of destination, as well as from your importers. For information on importing country/region requirements, please refer to the Tariff Finder.

2. Apply for trader’s licence from SFA

Apply for a trader’s licence from SFA before you:

  • export or transship meat, fish or processed eggs or
  • transship fresh fruits and vegetables
  • export of live animals for food consumption (i.e. poultry, cattle)

The following are not regulated by SFA, and you will not require a trader’s licence from SFA to:

  • export processed eggs or
  • export and transship processed food and food appliances

Find out if you need a trader’s licence by checking which group your food is classified under. See General Classification of Food & Food Products for more information.

3. Seek pre-approval of export establishment by the Competent Authority of importing country

Some countries/regions of destination require the manufacturing or processing establishment of certain food products to be registered with them before the product entry is allowed.

Local food processing establishments can seek pre-approval or registration for export to a specific country/region by contacting SFA via our online feedback form.

Below are the steps interested processors need to take for pre-approval:

STEP 1: Submit the necessary information together with the application to SFA.
STEP 2:    SFA will examine your application and conduct on-site visits to confirm that your establishment complies with the conditions of the importing country/region.
STEP 3:   SFA will notify you of the final approval by the government authority of the importing country/region.
STEP 4:   Commence export operations after the approval.
STEP 5: The authority in the importing country/region may send their inspectors to Singapore to audit and verify the conditions of your approved establishments as and when they deem necessary. 

SFA facilitates such foreign inspection missions, e.g. the EC Food and Veterinary Office (FVO), the US Food and Drug Administration, etc.

4. Apply for export documents

Find out if an export document is required and the type of export documents required by the country/region of destination by visiting the website of the country/region’s relevant authority. Documents might include export certification, documentary proof from approved sources, etc.

Food exporters can apply for the following documents from SFA:

  • Export Health Certificate
  • Free Sale Certificate

See the section below on Export Certification Process for more information.

5. Apply for export or transshipment permit via Tradenet

You are required to obtain an export or transshipment permit for every consignment of food you are exporting or transshipping. You can apply for the permit via the TradeNet.

Transshipping Fresh Eggs via Singapore

Transshipping refers to transporting food between countries/regions via Singapore.

To transship fresh eggs through Singapore, you need to obtain an SFA permit for the Import/Export/Transshipment of Birds/Eggs (Commercial Purpose). You can apply for the permit via the GoBusiness Licensing Website

You must also meet the following requirements:

  • The eggs must come from bird flu-free countries/regions 
  • No other eggs from a different consignment should be carried in the same conveyance during transshipment through Singapore

Export Certification Process

Traders who wish to export food and food products have to meet the destination country/region's import requirements, which may include obtaining export certification.

You can apply for the following types of export certification from SFA:

  • Free Sale Certificate
  • Export Health Certificate

SFA’s export documentation facilitates the export of food products to certify that the export consignment meets the importing country requirement. We also provide technical advice to exporters to assist them on their export. 

To find out the import requirements of the country/region of destination, visit the website of its competent authority. For information on importing country/region requirements, please refer to the Tariff Finder.

Free Sale Certificate

The Free Sale Certificate is a form of SFA endorsement for imported or locally manufactured food products intended for export, including meat, fish, dairy and egg products and processed food products.

Apply for the Free Sale Certificate online via the GoBusiness Licensing website. Please note that you are required to log in and locate the specific certificate application.

The Free Sale Certificate costs S$16.80 per certificate and will be issued within 3 working days.

Export Health Certificate

Some countries/regions require consignments of food products to be accompanied by official sanitary certification stating that the product is safe, wholesome and meets the country/region's requirements. 

The certificate might be in the form of government to government certification. Some importing countries/regions (e.g. the EU) may have specific Export Health Certificate formats for exporting countries/regions to comply with.

Prerequisites for request for export health certificates

For application of export health certification for meat, seafood, dairy and processed food products, the establishment must ensure that there is a monitoring system in place to confirm that the requirements of importing countries are met. The sampling procedure including chain of custody of samples must be established and maintained. In addition, the establishment must have a traceability and recall plan in the event of rejected consignments. SFA will conduct audit checks on the establishment’s food safety monitoring system as well as the facility requirements and sanitation conditions.

Exporters are required to appoint Qualified Person (QP) who must be a full-time employed staff of the company and must have passed FHO Training & SFA’s training on export processes (eg sampling and chain custody of samples and checking of import requirements)   

Responsibilities of QP

  • Examines process and products related to the export consignments to ensure that products are manufactured, labelled and stored in accordance to importing country/region’s requirements
  • Establishes and maintains procedures for sampling plan, sampling procedures, product safety monitoring of different products exporting to different countries
  • Establishes and maintains procedures on chain of custody of samples commencing from sampling from the exporter’s establishment to SFA’s recognised laboratories for testing
  • Declares compliance with importing countries/regions for each export consignment that requires export certification from SFA
  • Responsible for the sampling process and collect samples and arrange for the samples to be sent to SFA’s recognised laboratories for testing, if testing is required by the importing country.

Before requesting for export certification of food consignments, QP ensures that:

  • the establishment which manufactures or processes or packs the food consignments is licensed by SFA (For more information on licensing of food establishments, see Setting Up Food Establishments);
  • the food consignments comply with the SFA Meat and Fish Act, Sale of Food Act Cap 283 and the Food Regulations; and
  • the establishment and the food consignments comply with the standards and regulations of the intended importing country/region and submits the following document to SFA in the application for export certificate:
  • Declaration form [to state that the product meets importing country requirement]
  • Supporting Document [eg health/catch certificate of raw material used in the production, heat treatment record, sample acknowledgement form & test report (if applicable)]

Issuance of Export Health Certificates

SFA will issue the export health certificate within 3 working days when the submitted documents related to the export consignment are in order and comply with the requirements of importing country.

Collection of export certificates

For export certificates issued in watermark format, exporters are required to self-print the document in their company by using a watermark printer. For export certificates issued in SFA’s letterhead format, the document will be sent to the companies by registered mail.

Fees and Charges

Documentation S$20.00 per document
Certified True Copies S$9.45 per copy