What You Need to Know before Setting Up
You must get a licence from SFA if you are setting up a:
- Food retail establishment
- Food processing establishment
- Meat and/or fish processing establishment
- Other processed food establishment: For other manufacturing activities, including central kitchens and repacking of food products
- Cold store: For storage of meat and fish products without any processing activities
In addition to a licence, all food processing establishments, cold stores and slaughterhouses have to comply with the Wholesome Meat and Fish Act, Sale of Food Act and prevailing licensing conditions.
You are encouraged to register with SFA if you are setting up a food storage warehouse. Food storage warehouse operators are advised to align their practices to SFA’s Good Warehousing Practices (GWP). A copy of GWP in Mandarin is available for download here.
Application Process for Food Processing Establishment, Cold Store or Slaughterhouse
Before you apply for a SFA licence to operate a food processing establishment, cold store or a slaughterhouse, please ensure that you have a valid registration with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) under the Business Registration Act (Cap. 32). If you are operating as a company, you will need to be incorporated or registered under the Companies Act (Cap. 50).
Step 1: Check suitability of premise's location
Food processing premises, cold stores and slaughterhouses should be located within a food zone area or an area with compatible industrial uses. Please refer to the list of areas/ buildings approved for food use here.
Step 2: Apply to SFA for a licence
Once a suitable site is identified, apply for a SFA licence at the GoBusiness Licensing website. The following documents are required for SFA’s preliminary evaluation (a copy of the document samples can be found here for your reference):
At point of application, you will be required to register the trained food handlers working at your establishment. All food handlers in food processing establishments, cold stores and slaughterhouses will be required to attend and pass the WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1, on basic food safety principles for food handlers. Information on WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1 and the list of training providers that have been approved by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) can be found at https://go.gov.sg/info-fh.
You will have to pay an application fee of S$157.50 (inclusive of 7% GST) for any new licence application for food processing, cold store and slaughterhouse upon submission of application. The application fee covers:
- Evaluation of floor plans and process flow chart
- A joint site inspection of the completed premises with a licensing officer to ensure it complies with SFA's requirements
Upon receiving the application with the necessary documents, SFA will assess the proposed plans to ensure they are designed in compliance with SFA’s food safety requirements (see conditions of licensing). For example, the premises must be designed in a way that allows one directional flow to prevent cross-contamination between raw and finished products.
Once SFA has evaluated the submitted proposal, an in-principle approval notification will be sent to you to enable you to start renovation works.
Step 3: Final Inspection
You are required to contact the SFA licensing officer whom you’ve been in touch with to make an appointment for a final inspection after renovation works are completed. Prior to contacting SFA, please ensure that you have the following documents which must be submitted during the final inspection:
|Type of programme
|Cleaning and sanitation programme
Programme should include these areas and items:
- equipment to be cleaned
- frequency of cleaning
- method of cleaning
- staff responsible for each specific task
- monitoring arrangements
|Pest control programme
||Control measures involving treatments with chemical, physical or biological agents should only be undertaken by or under the direct supervision of a qualified personnel.
|Maintenance procedures and schedules for maintaining all equipment, fittings, building and work areas.
|Leased (tenancy) agreement
||A copy of the leased (tenancy) agreement of the premises (if applicable)
The final inspection will be carried out at the premises before the issuance of the licence. A licence will only be issued after all accompanying documents are submitted and SFA has assessed that our licensing requirements are satisfactorily met.
Please note that it is an offence under the Sale of Food Act and Wholesome Meat & Fish Act to operate a food establishment without a valid licence.
Step 4 : Licence Approval
The licence application will be approved via the GoBusiness Licensing system and you will be able to print your new licence upon payment of the licence fee. Please refer to the table for more details on the licence fee applicable for your trade. The details of the approved activities will be indicated on the licence.
If you intend to carry out additional trades in the future, you will need the prior approval of SFA. Please refer to the Responsibilities of Food Establishment Operators for more information.
Fees for New Licences and Renewals of Licences
We encourage payment for the annual licence fee to be made through InterBank GIRO. Non-GIRO users can pay via e-payment at the GoBusiness Licensing website.
The annual licence fees and renewal fees for various food processing and storage establishment licences are as follows:
|Type of annual licence
|Licence to operate a cold store for storage of meat & seafood products
Licence to operate a food processing establishment:
- Meat & Fish processing establishment
- Other processed food establishment
a) Below 200 m2
b) 200 to 750 m2
c) Above 750 m2
|Licence to operate a meat or fish processing establishment where meat or fish products in containers are hermetically sealed and thereafter preserved by subjection to heat treatment
|Licence to operate a slaughter-house for poultry
|Licence to operate a new slaughter-house for livestock
Renewal and Cancellation of Food Establishment Licence
SFA’s food establishment licences are renewable on a yearly basis. Licensees will receive an email notification for licence renewal two months before the expiry date. All licences will be auto renewed and will only be terminated if the licensee cancels the renewal licence via the GoBusiness Licensing website. Once the licence is successfully renewed, a copy of the licence bearing the new expiry date will be available for printing via the GoBusiness Licensing website.
If you intend to discontinue/terminate the business, please go to the GoBusiness Licensing website to cancel your licence.
Setting Up a Food Storage Warehouse (non-meat/fish products)
A food storage warehouse is defined as any building, facility, structure, or premises, where food is stored for the sale or distribution to other processors, wholesalers or any other business selling or distributing to the ultimate consumer. This includes cold rooms for the storage of fruits, vegetables, dairy products.
Operators of food storage warehouses are encouraged to register your warehouse with SFA. Cold stores used for the storage of meat and fish products do not fall under the category of a food storage warehouse and require a cold store licence from SFA.
Should you wish to register your food storage warehouse with SFA, please submit a completed application form via the GoBusiness Licensing website. The following supporting documents are required:
- Layout plan
- Pest control contract
- Tenancy/purchase agreement/ letter of declaration
Upon receiving the application with the necessary documents, SFA will evaluate the application and notify you via email upon successful registration. SFA will also issue you with a Warehouse Registration Number and a Warehouse Approval Letter, which you can retrieve for printing via the GoBusiness Licensing website.
Fees & Charges
There are no application fees for the registration of a food storage warehouse.
Renewal and Cancellation of Warehouse Registration
Warehouse operators will receive an email notification for the renewal of the food storage warehouse two months before the expiry date. The warehouse registration will be auto renewed and processed at no charge, and will only be terminated if the warehouse operator cancels the renewal via the GoBusiness Licensing website. Upon successful renewal, a copy of the warehouse registration bearing the new expiry date will be available for printing via the GoBusiness Licensing website.
If you intend to discontinue/terminate the business, please go to the GoBusiness Licensing website to cancel your registration.