Safety Assurance for Food Establishment (SAFE) Framework

Safety Assurance for Food Establishments (SAFE) Framework

Overview

The Safety Assurance for Food Establishments (SAFE) framework is an integrated licensing framework to provide better food safety assurance to consumers.

Under the framework, food establishments across retail and non-retail food establishments that have demonstrated good track record of food safety assurance (i.e. no major food safety lapses over a stated period of time) and have in place capabilities and systems to ensure better food safety and hygiene standards (e.g. appointment of Advanced Food Hygiene Officer, implementation of Food Safety Management System) will be eligible for longer licence durations and higher award tiers. annual food establishment grading assessments for all food establishments.

Award Tiers and Licence Duration

Under the SAFE framework, food establishments will be categorised based on food safety risk and the extent of food handling practices involved.

Table 1: SAFE framework: Category A and B food establishments

Category of food establishments

Criteria for Award tier and licence duration

No Award

1-year licence

Bronze

3-years licence

Silver

5-years licence

Gold

10-years licence

Category A

Food establishments that are involved in significant food handling practices with higher food safety risks (e.g. preparation, processing and storage of food under temperature-controlled conditions)

All Category A food establishments are required to appoint a trained Food Hygiene Officer (FHO).

Examples of licences: food manufacturers, caterers, in-house kitchens, restaurants, canteens (without stall), slaughterhouses

 

  • New licensees or <2 years without major lapse1

 

  • 2 years without major lapse

 

 

  • 5 years without major lapse
  • Food Safety Management System (FSMS)

 

  • 10 years without major lapse
  • FSMS certified by an accredited Certification Body2
  • Advanced FHO

Category B

Food establishments that are involved in moderate food handling and food storage practices with lower food safety risks

Examples of licences: bakeries, food shops, mobile food wagons, cold stores, small restaurants

 

  • New licensees or <2 years without major lapse

 

 

  • 2 years without major lapse

 

  • 5 years without major lapse

 

  • 10 years without major lapse

1 Examples of major lapses include causing a foodborne outbreak, being convicted in court for offences against SFA’s regulations, or a suspension of the licence.

2 A recognised FSMS under the SAFE framework include SS 444, SS 590, ISO 22000, FSSC 22000 and BRC Global Food Standards (BRCGS). A requirement of the Gold Tier is that the FSMS is certified by a Certification Body, which is:

  1. Accredited by Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) for ISO 22000, SS 590 and SS 444; or
  2. Accredited by accreditation bodies who are signatories of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) multilateral recognition arrangement (MLA) for ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000; or
  3. Accredited by BRCGS-recognised accreditation bodies who are signatories of the IAF MLA.

 

Table 2: SAFE framework: Category C food establishments and other licence types

Category of food establishments

Criteria for licence duration

1-year licence

3-years licence

5-years licence

10-years licence

Category C

Food establishments that are involved in minimal food handling and food storage practices that have negligible food safety risks

Examples of licences: main operators of eating house/ food courts/ canteen (with stalls), food vending machines, market produce, private market, supermarkets

Category C food establishments will not have awards

(i.e. Gold, Silver and Bronze) under SAFE framework.

 

  • New licensees or <2 years without major lapse1

 

  • <3 years without major lapse

 

 

  • 3 years without major lapse

 

  • 5 years without major lapse

1 Examples of major lapses include causing a foodborne outbreak, being convicted in court for offences against SFA’s regulations, or a suspension of the licence.

Food stalls e.g. hawker stalls, canteen food stalls, restaurant within a coffeeshop/food court/canteen are not included in the categorisation. Nevertheless, they are part of the SAFE framework and will need to comply with food safety requirements and inspections, and will be given recognition awards based on their good track record (no major lapses). Their licence durations will be dependent on the tenancy agreement period.

Implementation of SAFE framework

From early 2022, SFA will progressively inform licensees the details of the SAFE framework and the award tiers that they are eligible for. Food establishments will be given time to meet the requirements (e.g. adopt Food Safety Management System (FSMS), appoint Advanced Food Hygiene Officer (FHO)) to attain the desired award tier when the framework is fully implemented in 2023.

A sample of the introductory letter on SAFE is appended.

•             Introductory notification letter to licensees (dated 25 October 2021)

Enquiries on SAFE framework

For enquiries relating to the  SAFE framework, please refer to https://www.ifaq.gov.sg/SFA/apps/fcd_faqmain.aspx. Alternatively, you may send your enquiries to www.sfa.gov.sg/feedback


Training courses for Food Handlers and Food Hygiene Officers

To support and complement the SAFE framework, SFA has implemented a training framework.  The Food Safety Courses (FSC) are organised into four levels:

Level 1 of the FSC covers basic food safety principles for food handlers. As these food handlers level up and take on greater responsibilities in the kitchen, they can upskill by taking up Level 2 of the FSC, which will equip them with the know-how to conduct food safety checks for their specific work areas.

Level 3 of the FSC will equip Food Hygiene Officers (FHO) with the knowledge to implement food safety pre-requisite programmes and basic principles of HACCP and Food Safety Management System (FSMS). The FHO may then upskill to become an Advanced FHO through Level 4 of the FSC, which will cover the implementation of FSMS and how to conduct broader food safety checks and internal audits.

The breadth and depth of the curriculum increase as attendees progress through the levels. Food handlers and food hygiene officers will be required to complete the relevant courses following the rollout of the SAFE framework.

Food handlers

WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1

Under the SAFE framework, all food handlers in non-retail food establishments will be required to attend and pass the WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1. Food handlers in existing non-retail food establishment can start attending the WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1 now in order to meet the requirements in January 2023.

There will be no change to the current training requirements for food handlers in retail food establishments. Information for food handlers and on WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1 and the list of training providers that have been approved by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) can be found on the SFA website at https://go.gov.sg/info-fh.

WSQ Food Safety Course Level 2

WSQ Food Safety Course Level 2 is intended for upskilling of food handlers, who will receive additional training on conducting food safety checks at their specific work areas. The list of training providers for WSQ Food Safety Course Level 2 will be updated soon.

Food Hygiene Officers

WSQ Food Safety Course Level 3

All Category A food establishments will be required to appoint a trained FHO who has attended and passed the WSQ Food Safety Course Level 3. FHOs (e.g. in retail food establishments) who have passed the WSQ Conduct Food and Beverage Hygiene Audit Course or have been previously trained under the FHO course conducted by Singapore Environment Institute (SEI) will continue to be recognised by SFA. Information on FHOs and Food Safety Course Level 3 can be found on the SFA website at https://www.sfa.gov.sg/informationforFHOs.

Advanced Food Hygiene Officers

WSQ Food Safety Course Level 4

Category A establishments aspiring for the Gold award will be required to appoint a trained Advanced FHO who has attended and passed the WSQ Food Safety Course Level 4. Supervisory personnel who have passed the WSQ Apply Food Safety Management Systems for Food Service Establishments will continue to be recognised by SFA and can be appointed as an Advanced FHO. The list of training providers for WSQ Food Safety Course Level 4 will be updated soon.

For the above WSQ courses, subsidies are available from SSG. Please approach the training providers for more information on course schedule, course fees and subsidies.

About WSQ Food Safety Courses

Launched by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), the Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) system is the national qualifications system for the food and beverage industry. SFA, together with SSG, have harmonised the training curriculum and assessment for retail and non-retail food businesses, in alignment with the refreshed SSG Skills Framework (SFw).