Home-Based Food Businesses

Home-Based Food Businesses

HDB/URA’s Home-Based Business Scheme

Under the Housing & Development Board’s (HDB) and Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) home-based business schemes, residents living in HDB and private residential premises respectively are permitted to operate home-based businesses, subject to them meeting the prescribed conditions. For instance, the business should not materially change the residential nature of the premises, and business activities must not cause dis-amenities to their neighbours. Otherwise, HDB/URA will require the business to cease operations or relocate to other premises, such as commercial units.

View the video on the Dos and Don’ts for home-based food businesses. The Malay edition of the video is available here.

Home-based Food Business and Food Safety

As the conditions of HDB and URA’s scheme limit the scale of food preparation by home-based food businesses (HBFBs), SFA has assessed that the food safety risk associated with such HBFBs is low relative to other food establishments. Hence, they are exempted from licensing requirements.

While HBFBs are not licensed, they are still subject to the Environmental Public Health Act (EPHA) and the Sale of Food Act (SOFA)* and are required to ensure that the food they sell is prepared in a manner that is safe for consumption. HBFBs are encouraged to adopt the guidelines on good food safety practices. SFA will take enforcement or other necessary action in the event of any food safety incident or breaches.


Section 40 EPHA: Articles of food unfit for human consumption

40. – (1) No person shall, without lawful excuse, have in his possession for sale by retail any article of food intended for human consumption which is unsound or unfit for human consumption.

Section 15 SOFA: Selling unsafe or unsuitable food

15. – (1) A person must not sell food that the person knows or ought reasonably to know is unsafe.

(2)  A person must not sell food that the person knows or ought reasonably to know is unsuitable.

(3)  For the purposes of subsection (2), it is immaterial whether the food concerned is safe.

No sale of food to retail food establishments, to/at temporary fairs, nor offer catering services

In view that the food prepared by HBFBs is meant to be small-scale, HBFB operators should not sell their food to retail food establishments or to/at temporary fairs, or offer catering services. Food sold in licensed food establishments should be:

  1. Legally imported,
  2. Prepared in their licensed premises, or
  3. Sourced from other licensed food establishments in Singapore.

Sale of meat and seafood products

Meat and seafood products should be legally imported in compliance with the Wholesome Meat and Fish Act (WMFA). Operators should also ensure that the food they sell is obtained from SFA-regulated sources, prepared in a hygienic manner, and are safe for consumption.

Ready-to-eat raw fish^ is considered a high-risk food as it does not go through a cooking process. As HBFBs may not have the proper facility and segregation of processes to handle ready-to-eat raw fish, HBFB operators are not allowed to prepare it for sale.

^Note: Under Section 2 of the Sale of Food Act (Cap 283), “fish” means any species of fish (whether marine or freshwater), and includes crustacea, shellfish, echinoderm and molluscs; and the eggs and young of any fish.

Attending Food Safety Course Level 1

Food safety is a joint responsibility of the industry, consumers and the regulatory authority. Currently, all food handlers working in SFA-licensed food establishments are required to complete the Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) Food Safety Course Level 1. HBFB operators who handle and prepare food are encouraged to undergo the same training to improve the standard of their food safety practices. The list of SSG-approved training providers can be downloaded here.