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.

Before Exporting Food

1. Check your product export eligibility


Before you export any food product 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

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

  • export fresh eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables 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 destination countries/regions require certain food products to be manufactured or processed in approved and listed establishments before the product is allowed entry.

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 DESCRIPTION
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 the 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 for Meat, Fish and Dairy Products 
  • Export Certificate for Processed Food
  • Free Sale Certificate (Food)

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 Networked Trade Platform (NTP).

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 (Food)
  • Export Health Certificate for Meat, Fish and Dairy Products
  • Export Certificate for Processed Food

SFA’s export documentation facilitates the export of food to more than 40 countries/regions, including the EU, Australia and New Zealand. We also provide technical advice and assistance to existing and potential exporters of agricultural products and processed foods.

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 (Food)

The Free Sale Certificate (Food) is a form of SFA endorsement for products intended for export, including meat, fish and egg products and processed food products.

Apply for the Free Sale Certificate (Food) 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 (Food) costs S$16.80 per certificate and takes 3 working days to process.

Export Health Certification for Meat, Fish and Dairy Products

Most countries/regions require consignments of meat, fish or dairy products to be accompanied by official 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) have specific Health Certificate formats for exporting countries/regions to comply with.

Prerequisites for request for export certification

Before you apply for export certification of your food product, ensure that:

  • the establishment which manufactures the product is licensed by SFA (For more information on licensing of food establishments, see Setting Up Food Establishments);
  • the product originates from Singapore, or has gone through some value-added processing in Singapore;
  • the product complies with the SFA Wholesome Meat and Fish Act; and
  • the establishment and the product comply with the standards and regulations of the intended importing country/region.

Application for export health certification

 

Phase 1 (with effect from 1 April 2020):

Exporters apply via e-services and indicate the test parameters as well as the name of the SFA’s recognised laboratories to be engaged for the testing services (under the “Remark” field).

SFA will conduct inspections on your establishment’s processing lines and/or inspection and sampling of export consignments.

Company will arrange for the samples to be sent to the SFA's recognised laboratories for testing.

This is to ensure that food intended for export is safe, wholesome and accurately described and meets the requirements of importing countries.

Your final product must meet regulatory requirements, while the establishment which processes the product must meet facility requirements as well as sanitation conditions.

Below are the procedures to apply for export health certification for meat, fish and dairy products.

1. Register for a company e-Services account

Applications for export certification must be made online. Register for a company account via the SFA Inspection & Laboratory e-Services.

2. Apply for export certification and book an appointment for inspection

Make an online application via the Inspection & Laboratory e-Services for export health certification and book an appointment for inspection. 

You are required to provide the following details in your application:

Product Details
  • Product/Item Description
  • Preferred Date of Inspection
  • Processing Date
  • Species (for fish and fish products only)
  • Product Packing Quantity in the following format:
Shipment Details
  • Export Value (SGD)
  • Export Country/Region and Port/City
Samples & Tests
  • Select tests required for the product
  • Select SFA's recognised laboratories for the product testing

Upon confirmation, you will receive an SMS or email notification stating the date for the on-site inspection and sampling (if any), as well as your application number.

3. Prepare required documents for 1st on-site inspection

Prepare the following required documents for the 1st on-site inspection by SFA officers: 

  • List of Ingredients of animal origin
  • Health certificates for ingredients of animal origin
  • Certificate of analysis
  • Cargo Clearance Permits
  • Certificate of origin
  • Catch certificates (for fish and fish products)
  • Process flow chart of the specific product to be made
  • Any other documents requested by SFA or required by importing country/region

These documents may change depending on the requirements of importing countries/regions.

4. Amend your quantity for export and schedule 2nd on-site inspection

Use your application number to amend the final quantity for export and schedule the 2nd inspection. 

You will receive an SMS or email confirmation stating the date for on-site inspection and sampling (if any).

5. Prepare required documents for 2nd on-site inspection

Prepare the following documents for the 2nd on-site inspection and sampling by SFA officers:

  • Temperature charts or monitoring records related to HACCP critical control points
  • Production records 
  • Labels or packaging (if available)

For subsequent on-site inspections (other than sampling), you will need to prepare the following documents:

  • Stock out-going record
  • Stock-receiving record
  • Packing list

6. Obtain the test results and export health certification

Company arranges for samples sealed during SFA’s inspection to any of SFA’s recognised laboratories

Once the laboratory tests are completed, the exporter submits the laboratory report to SFA for verification.

SFA will issue the export health certificate when the test results meet the requirements of importing country.

In line with the heightened safe-distancing measures announced by the Government, we have closed the Service Counter at 40 Scotts Road (located at Level 2, Environment Building) from 7 April 2020 for the safety of our customers. The export health certificates will be couriered to the companies.
 

Fees and Charges

Fees are chargeable for inspection and certification services:

Technical service:
  • Normal rate
  • Inspection booking cut-off timing at 7.00am for inspection the next working day
S$38 per hr or part thereof
Professional service:
  • Urgent application
  • Any application received between 7.00am - 12.00pm* requesting for inspection the next working day
 S$80.00 per hr or part thereof
 Documentation S$20.00 per document 
 Certified True Copies S$9.45 per copy 

 

*No applications requesting for an inspection on the next working day will be accepted after 12.00pm. Special requests shall be entertained only when applicants are able to support the request with valid reason, at a charge of S$80 per hour or part thereof. This is subject to the availability of inspection officers.

Inspection charges billed per visit

Inspection fees will be charged based on the total time spent in a single trip regardless of the number of applications.

This reduces fees for food exporters who combine multiple export consignments and inspections into a single visit.

Note that time spent includes inspection time as well as travelling time between the office and the premises.

 

Phase 2 (with effect from 1 July 2020)

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 routine surveillance and audit checks on the establishment’s food safety monitoring system as well as the facility requirements and sanitation conditions.
 
Below are the procedures to apply for export health certification for meat, fish and dairy products.
 
1. Register for a company e-Services account
 
Applications for export certification must be made online. Register for a company account via the SFA Inspection & Laboratory e-Services.

 

2. Appointment of Qualified Person (QP)

  • Must be a full-time employed staff of the company
  • Must have passed FHO Training
  • Appointed QP must attend SFA’s training on export processes (eg sampling and chain custody of samples and checking of import requirements)   
  • Companies with accredited FSMS, should appoint staff who has attended FHO or equivalent training to be QP.  If the appointed QP has undergone the relevant training (based on submission of documentation to SFA), he/she need not attend FHO course.
Responsibilities
  • 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

3. Sampling

QP will be responsible for the sampling process. QP collect samples and arrange for the samples to be sent to SFA’s recognised laboratories.

4. Apply for export certification

QP must ensure compliance of export consignments with the requirements of importing countries and submits the following to SFA.:

  • Declaration form 
  • Laboratory test results

5. Collect health certificates

In line with the heightened safe-distancing measures announced by the Government, we have closed the Service Counter at 40 Scotts Road (located at Level 2, Environment Building) from 7 April 2020 for the safety of our customers. The export health certificates will be couriered to the companies.
  

Export Certification for Processed Food

Most importing countries/regions may require consignments of food products to be accompanied by official food export documents issued by SFA. These documents may include food export certification.

Prerequisites for request for export certification

Before you request for export certification of your food consignments, ensure 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 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.

*For food consignments that do not meet the requirements of the Food Regulations, SFA may consider issuing a statement of fact if you can furnish evidence that such standards are acceptable to the relevant authorities or comply with the food laws of the importing country/region.

Apply for export certification

You can make online applications for the Food Export Certificate via the GoBusiness Licensing website.

1. Register for a company LicenceOne account

Applications for export certification must be made online.

2. Apply for export certification and book an inspection

Make an online application via the GoBusiness Licensing system and book an appointment for inspection. 

You are required to provide the following details in your application:

Product Details
  • Product/Item Description
  • Preferred Date of Inspection
  • Processing Date
  • Product Packing Quantity in the following format:
Shipment Details
  • Export Value (SGD)
  • Export Country/Region and Port/City
Samples & Tests
  • Select tests required for the product
  • Select SFA's recognised laboratories for the product testing
Upon confirmation, you will receive an SMS or email notification stating the date for the on-site inspection and sampling (if any), as well as your application number.

3. Prepare required documents for SFA's inspection

Prepare the following required documents for inspection by SFA officers: 

  • Temperature charts or monitoring records related to HACCP critical control points
  • Production records
  • Labels or packaging
  • Packing list

4. Obtain the test results and export health certification

Company to arrange to send samples sealed during SFA’s inspection to SFA’s recognised laboratories (insert hyperlink).

Once the laboratory tests are completed, the exporter submits the lab report to SFA for verification.

SFA will issue the export health certificate and certification when the test results meet the import country requirement.

  • Furnish SFA with the necessary shipping details for the preparation of export health certificates. Your establishment will be issued export health certification if your consignments meet requirements (i.e. results of inspection and tests are satisfactory).
  • In line with the heightened safe-distancing measures announced by the Government, we have closed the Service Counter at 40 Scotts Road (located at Level 2, Environment Building) from 7 April 2020 for the safety of our customers. The export health certificates will be couriered to the companies.
  • For companies which are applying for watermark export certificates (such as Free Sale Certificate (Food) and Food Export Certificates) and have installed a watermark printer at your office, please continue to self-print the document in your company. Companies which have yet to install a watermark printer for self-printing of the export certificates are reminded to do so by 30 April 2020 as SFA will cease printing for all watermark export certificates by 1 May 2020.

 

Fees and Charges

Fees are chargeable for inspection and certification services:

Technical service:
  • Normal rate
  • Inspection booking cut-off timing at 7.00am for inspection the next working day
S$38 per hr or part thereof
Professional service:
  • Urgent application
  • Any application received between 7.00am - 12.00pm* requesting for inspection the next working day
S$80.00 per hr or part thereof
Documentation S$20.00 per document
Certified True Copies S$9.45 per copy

 

*No applications requesting for an inspection on the next working day will be accepted after 12.00pm. Special requests shall be entertained only when applicants are able to support the request with valid reason, at a charge of S$80 per hour or part thereof. This is subject to the availability of inspection officers.

Inspection charges billed per visit

Inspection fees will be charged based on the total time spent in a single trip regardless of the number of applications.

This reduces fees for food exporters who combine multiple export consignments and inspections into a single visit.

Note that time spent includes inspection time as well as travelling time between the office and the premises.

 

Phase 2 (with effect from 1 July 2020)

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 routine surveillance and audit checks on the establishment’s food safety monitoring system as well as the facility requirements and sanitation conditions.
 
Below are the procedures to apply for export health certification for processed food products.
 
1. Register for a company LicenceOne account
 
Applications for export certification must be made online. Register for a company account via the GoBusiness Licensing system.
 
2. Appointment of Qualified Person (QP)
  • Must be a full-time employed staff of the company
  • Must have passed FHO Training
  • Appointed QP must attend SFA’s training on export processes (eg sampling and chain custody of samples and checking of import requirements) 
  • Companies with accredited FSMS, should appoint staff who has attended FHO or equivalent training to be QP.  If the appointed QP has undergone the relevant training (based on submission of documentation to SFA), he/she need not attend FHO course.   
Responsibilities
  • Examines process and products related to the export consignments to ensure that products are manufactured, labelled and stored in accordance to requirements of importing countries/regions

  • Establishes and maintains procedures for sampling plan, sampling procedures, product safety monitoring of different products exporting to different countries/regions

  • 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

3. Sampling

QP will be responsible for the sampling process. QP collect samples and arrange for the samples to be sent to SFA’s recognised laboratories.

4. Apply for export certification

QP must ensure compliance of export consignments with requirements of importing countries/regions and submits the following to SFA.:

  • Declaration form
  • Laboratory test results

5. Collect health certificates

In line with the heightened safe-distancing measures announced by the Government, we have closed the Service Counter at 40 Scotts Road (located at Level 2, Environment Building) from 7 April 2020 for the safety of our customers. The export health certificates will be couriered to the companies.
 
For companies which are applying for watermark export certificates (such as Free Sale Certificate (Food) and Food Export Certificates) and have installed a watermark printer at your office, please continue to self-print the document in your company. Companies which have yet to install a watermark printer for self-printing of the export certificates are reminded to do so by 30 April 2020 as SFA will cease printing for all watermark export certificates by 1 May 2020.