All licensed food processing establishments, cold stores and slaughter-houses are subjected to regular inspections to ensure that the food produced is safe and fit for human consumption.
The frequency of inspections depends on the grade of the food establishments as well as the previous compliance history of the establishments. These inspections are generally unannounced to obtain a more accurate assessment of the normal operating practices and conditions of the inspected establishments. Various aspects of food safety and hygiene will be checked which would include general conditions of the premises, storage practices, food preparation steps, food processing equipment used, pest status in the premises, food handling practices and personal hygiene practices of the food handlers, labelling details of prepacked food, delivery vehicles, in-house quality control programs, staff training in food safety and hygiene, documentation and records, etc.
The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that licensees and their food production personnel adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and implement food safety programs such as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) to ensure safe production of food. Inspections could also allow procedures and practices which may be hazardous or pose contamination risk to food to be detected and ensure licensees take prompt action to correct the deficiencies. Any areas found to need improvement could also be highlighted during the inspections. After an inspection is completed, a report detailing the inspection findings will be sent to the licensee for timely follow-up and subsequent verification by SFA.
In addition, SFA may collect food samples from the licensed establishments for laboratory analysis to monitor if these samples comply with the standards stipulated in the Food Regulations.
Under the Wholesome Meat and Fish Act and the Sale of Food Act, SFA has the legal power to take enforcement action against any licensee who is found in breach of the licensing conditions or has contravened any provision of the Acts. These enforcement actions can range from issuance of a stern written warning to collection of composition sum as stipulated under the Acts. For cases of severe violations which infringed food safety. SFA may suspend or revoke the licence that was issued to the licensee until rectification works have been completed satisfactorily.
All registered food storage warehouses would be subjected to regular inspections by SFA. The food storage warehouse operators are advised to align their practices to SFA’s recommended Good Warehousing Practices (GWP). A copy of GWP in chinese version is also available for download here.
During the inspection, the Cold Store Audit Assessment Checklist will be used to assess the food storage warehouses.