Novel Food

Novel Food

SFA considers novel food to be food and food ingredients that do not have a history of safe use. Novel food may also include compounds that are chemically identical to naturally occurring substances, but are produced through applications of technology (e.g. precision fermentation). Examples of novel food include cultured meats and alternative proteins produced with novel compounds.

Overview on the Novel Food Regulatory Framework

The production of novel food for human consumption is a developing industry. As we facilitate the growth of the novel food industry, the safety of food consumed in Singapore remains a top priority. To ensure food safety, SFA subjects all novel food to a rigorous safety assessment framework before they are approved for sale.

In 2019, SFA introduced the novel food regulatory framework, which requires companies to seek pre-market allowance for novel food. Companies producing novel food products are required to conduct and submit safety assessments of their products for SFA’s review before they are allowed for sale. SFA will review these safety assessments to ascertain that potential food safety issues have been addressed. For more information on the safety assessments, please refer to Conditions related to Novel Food below.

To support the framework, SFA established the SFA Novel Food Safety Expert Working Group to provide scientific advice to ensure that safety assessments are rigorously reviewed. The expert working group is chaired by the Head of the Centre for Regulatory Excellence, Duke-NUS Medical School, which seeks to strengthen health product regulatory systems across Asia. The group comprises 11 experts specialising in food science, food toxicology, bioinformatics, nutrition, epidemiology, public health, genetics, carcinogenicity, metabolomics, fermentation technology, microbiology and pharmacology.

Members of Novel Food Safety Expert Working Group


Professor John Lim

Executive Director, Centre of Regulatory Excellence, Duke- NUS Medical School



Specialisation Field(s)

Professor Zhou Weibiao

Head of Department, Food Science and Technology, National University of Singapore

Food science (Food engineering, food processing and functional foods)

Professor William Chen

Director, Food Science and Technology Programme, Nanyang Technological University

Food science (fermentation)

Professor Christiani Jeyakumar Henry

Senior Advisor, Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation, A*STAR


Adjunct Professor Sebastian Maurer- Stroh

Executive Director, Bioinformatics Institute, A*STAR

Bioinformatics (allergenicity prediction)

Adjunct Associate Professor Annie Ling

Group Director, Policy, Research and Surveillance Division, Health Promotion Board


Adjunct Associate Professor Chow Wai Leng

Director, Disease Policy and Strategy Division, Ministry of Health

Public health

Associate Professor Yew Wen Shan Head, Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore Precision fermentation and microbiology
 Assistant Professor Ching Jianhong  Assistant Professor, Director, Metabolomics @Duke-NUS Medical School Metabolomics
 Professor Chan Chun Yong, Eric  Professor, Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore  Pharmacology and Toxicology (physiological-based pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamics modelling)
 Associate Professor Tan Soo Yong  Head of Advanced Molecular Pathology Laboratory, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR Biobanking, molecular pathology, cancer genomics

Conditions related to Novel Food

As novel food do not have a history of safe use, food safety must be the principal consideration when companies develop such products.

Before selling novel food in Singapore, please follow these steps:

1. Approach SFA for information required for review

To ensure food safety, the novel food regulatory framework requires companies to seek pre-market allowance for novel food.  Food businesses are encouraged to consult SFA early in the product development process to understand the information SFA requires to be submitted to substantiate the safety of the novel food product. Companies can contact SFA via our online feedback form.

Interested companies can also attend SFA’s bi-monthly Novel Food Virtual Clinics for more information. You may sign up here.

2. Submission of Safety Assessments

Companies producing novel food products are required to conduct and submit safety assessments of their products for SFA’s review before they are allowed for sale in Singapore.

The assessments cover potential food safety risks such as toxicity, allergenicity, safety of its production method, and dietary exposure arising from consumption.  Please refer to this document for the required food safety information to be included in the application for novel food safety assessment. Before submission, please complete the respective self-assessment checklists below and include a screenshot of the acknowledgement received upon submission of the checklist.

·       Self-assessment checklist for precision/biomass fermentation processes

·       Self-assessment checklist for cell-based food companies

SFA will review these safety assessments to determine if potential food safety issues have been addressed. An evaluation of a novel food product will take an estimated 9-12 months upon the receipt of a complete application. No fees will be charged.

Other Resources on Novel Food

For more information on Novel Food, you may refer to the following:

Fact Sheet on Alternative Proteins

Factsheet on alternative proteins      
Post-event summaries on Roundtable on Novel Food Regulations Roundtable on Novel Food Regulations 2022
Roundtable on Novel Food Regulations 2023

Literature review papers drafted by researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and reviewed by SFA