The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) will introduce a new Food Hygiene Recognition Scheme (FHRS) in late 2020 for licensed food retail establishments. FHRS will recognise and affirm consistent efforts in upholding high hygiene standards. Under the new Scheme, food retail establishments with two or more years of strong track record in food hygiene will attain a Bronze, Silver or Gold award based on the following criteria (see Table 1 below).
Table 1: Eligibility criteria for respective tiers of award
Duration of strong track record without major hygiene lapses under the Points Demerit System
2 or more years
5 or more years
10 or more years
Existing food hygiene grading system to be phased out upon implementation of the new Scheme
All SFA-licensed food retail establishments in Singapore are required to meet the necessary hygiene requirements to operate, including having the necessary infrastructure and trained expertise to ensure safe preparation, handling and sale of food. Over and above these licensing requirements, all food retail establishments are graded either ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ or ‘D’ annually based on a snapshot assessment of the premises’ hygiene standards.
SFA has reviewed the existing grading system, and will replace it with the FHRS in late 2020 to encourage operators to practise good hygiene at all times and be consistent in their efforts. The recognition award may be subsequently downgraded after attainment of the award if the premises is implicated in a food poisoning incident or suspended under the Points Demerit System due to multiple hygiene infringements (i.e. Gold to Silver, Silver to Bronze, Bronze to none). New licensees will display a label indicating ‘Working towards excellent hygiene track record’ which is valid for up to two years before SFA assesses their eligibility for a Bronze award.
Upon the new Scheme’s implementation in late 2020, the existing grading decals will cease to be valid. Operators who have attained the FHRS award will be given the award decal to display prominently at their premises.
Establishments currently with ‘A’ grade can apply for new award on voluntary basis from 1 April 2019
To phase in the FHRS, food retail establishments which are currently graded ‘A’ are invited to come on board the new Scheme on a voluntary basis, starting from 1 April 2019. Those who are interested may submit their application here. Applicants who meet the criteria will receive the award decal for display, in place of the grading decal. For the rest of the food retail industry, the new Scheme will take effect fully from late 2020. All existing licensees will therefore have sufficient time to attain at least a Bronze award if they maintain a good track record henceforth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1) Why is SFA replacing the food hygiene grading with the new Food Hygiene Recognition Scheme (FHRS)?
The current grading system was introduced over twenty years ago in 1997 to help raise hygiene standards. Today, about 99% of licensees are graded either ‘A’ or ‘B’, which makes the grading system less useful in differentiating the good performers. Moreover, grading is a snapshot assessment of the hygiene standards conducted once a year. The FHRS places emphasis on maintaining a strong track record of good hygiene over time.
2) Why is SFA only rolling out the new Scheme in 2020?
The new Scheme will be implemented in late 2020 so as to provide sufficient time for licensees to work towards attaining an award.
3) How do operators qualify for a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award under the new Scheme?
Operators may attain the Bronze, Silver or Gold award based on at least 2, 5 or 10 years respectively of track record without any major hygiene lapse carrying 4 or more points under the Points Demerit System (PDS).
4) Is the current grade ‘A’ equivalent to a ‘Gold’ award under the new Scheme?
No. Unlike the current hygiene grading framework, where premises are graded ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ or ‘D’ based on an annual snapshot assessment of the hygiene condition of the premises, the Food Hygiene Recognition Scheme takes into account the hygiene track record of the premises over a period of time. Operators are required to sustain high standards of hygiene consistently, in order to be eligible. Eligible operators will receive the award decal from SFA via post upon implementation of the Scheme in 2020.
5) How would consumers know that the food sold by a food retail establishment is safe to eat if it does not qualify for an award/decal?
All SFA-licensed food retail establishments are required to fulfil specific design and operational requirements to meet the necessary hygiene standards to operate. The Food Hygiene Recognition Scheme serves as a bonus recognition to operators which have maintained strong track record in food hygiene consistently.
6) Can operators who do not qualify for an award under the new Scheme still display their food hygiene grading decals?
The existing food hygiene grade will remain in effect until the implementation of the new Scheme in late 2020. Thereafter, the food hygiene grade will cease to be valid and operators are to remove the grading decal from their premises.
7) If a food retail establishment is without a recognition award, is it because it is a new operator or because it does not have the qualifying track record?
The new Scheme will take into account the track record of the food retail establishments in the years immediately preceding the date of its implementation. New licensees will display a label indicating “Working towards excellent hygiene track record” which is valid for two years before SFA assesses their eligibility for a Bronze award.