The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is an international standard-setting body established in 1962 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Singapore has been a member of Codex since 1969, demonstrating our early commitment to international food safety standards-setting. More details of the CAC and Codex standards can be found at the FAO website here.
In Singapore, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is the National Codex Contact Point. As Singapore imports more than 90 per cent of our food, Codex standards are important in safeguarding public health. They also facilitate international trade and promote consumer confidence. SFA’s participation in Codex is closely aligned with our mission to ensure and secure a supply of safe food.
Singapore actively participates in meetings of the CAC and its subsidiary bodies, so that our interests and views are considered during the deliberation of Codex standards. SFA participates in the CAC, Codex General Subject Committees and FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committee for Asia (CCASIA) to contribute towards the development of food safety standards. This helps us to ensure that international food safety standards are not only sufficiently protective of consumers’ health in Singapore, but also promote fair trade by helping our local food industry to export their food products. Furthermore, our participation helps us to stay abreast of the latest global food safety developments.
From 2021 – 2023, Singapore was a co-chair of the electronic working group under the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS), along with Australia, Canada and China. The electronic working group developed guidelines on the use of remote audit and inspection in regulatory frameworks. These guidelines aim to assist Codex Members in using remote audit and inspection activities as a complementary tool to support the effective delivery of official controls within a country’s National Food Control Systems (NFCS) and/or the assessments of an exporting country’s NFCS.
In the area of novel foods, Singapore was part of a project led by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) on cell-based food. We co-hosted an international consultation on cell-based foods with the FAO in November 2022, and were also invited to contribute our experiences in regulating cell-based food as part of the FAO publication “Food Safety Aspects of Cell-based Food”. Additionally, SFA has been hosting an annual Roundtable for Novel Food Regulations since 2019. This Roundtable provides a platform for regulators, industry and researchers to raise awareness of novel food production technologies, discuss the challenges in safety assessment and explore opportunities to advance the regulatory agenda while encouraging food innovations. Through these engagement activities, Singapore sees the need for the development of internationally recognised guidelines and standards for novel foods. Hence, Singapore has been actively contributing to the Codex agenda item “New Food Sources and Production Systems (NFPS)”, advocating for the Codex Alimentarius Commission to set up a dedicated mechanism to develop international standards, guidelines and recommendations for this new and emerging area.
Dr Astrid Yeo (Senior Director, Regulatory Standards and Veterinary Office) leading Members of Singapore’s delegation at the 45th Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC45).
From left: Mr Toh Kian Han (Manager, Regulatory Standards and Veterinary Office) and Ms Seah Peik Ching (Deputy Director, Regulatory Standards and Veterinary Office) at the Codex Committee for Food Labelling (CCFL) in 2023.
(Left) Dr Wong Yelin (Director, Joint Operations Division) and Mr Victor Li (Deputy Director, Industry Development and Community Partnership) at the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS) in 2023.
(Right) Dr Astrid Yeo (Senior Director, Regulatory Standards and Veterinary Office) addressing the meeting virtually as co-chair of the electronic working group at CCFICS in 2023.
The Singapore delegation at the Codex Committee for Contaminants in Food (CCCF) in 2023 comprises Dr Ong How Chee (Scientist, National Centre for Food Science) and Dr Er Jun Cheng (Specialist Team Lead, National Centre for Food Science). Dr Ong and Dr Er are pictured together with Dr Yukiko Yamada (center).
From left: Mr Low Teng Yong (Director, National Centre for Food Science) and Dr Chin Zan Xin (Senior Scientist, National Centre for Food Science) at the Codex Committee for Food Additives (CCFA) meeting in 2023.