Food Retail

Information for Food Handlers

A food handler is any person who handles and prepares food and beverages in SFA-licensed food retail establishments. Chefs, sous chefs, cooks, kitchen assistants, and food stall assistants are considered food handlers as they are primarily involved in food preparation.

Managers, captains, waiters, cashiers, dishwashers, cleaners, and other service staff are generally not considered food handlers as they are not directly involved in food preparation. They will be considered as food handlers only if they are also involved in the handling and preparation of food and beverages. This may involve the washing and cutting of raw fruits, vegetables, and meat, the processing of ready-to-eat food (in raw or cooked form), preparation of sauces, spices and condiments, and the mixing of beverage drinks, among others.

Regulatory requirements for food handlers

Registration of food handlers

Food handlers working in food retail establishments must be registered with SFA. Businesses may update SFA on their food handlers by completing this form (click here). Please attach the completed ‘Registration of Food Handlers’ form with the relevant documents, and submit them electronically via the Online Feedback Form.

Basic food hygiene course “WSQ Follow Food and Beverage Safety and Hygiene Policies and Procedures”

The Food and Beverage Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) system was launched on 12 July 2006 by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), formerly known as the Workforce Development Agency (WDA), as the national qualifications system for the F&B industry. In line with government efforts to upgrade the skills of workers, the teaching and assessment of the Basic Food Hygiene Course (BFHC) has been aligned to the F&B WSQ standards with effect from 1 June 2007. Alignment with WSQ standards improve and standardise the teaching and assessment processes of the BFHC.

The WSQ course consists of six hours of course work and one-and-a-half hours of assessment. Upon successful completion of the course and assessment, a Statement of Attainment (SOA) will be awarded to the participants.

SFA limits registration of food handlers to who have been trained and assessed by SSG-accredited training providers and assessment centres under the F&B WSQ system as of 1 June 2007. Anyone who wishes to be registered as a food handler can attend the course provided by any SSG-accredited training providers. The list of SSG-accredited training providers can be downloaded here [PDF, 419 KB].  

Basic food hygiene course (refresher)

The refresher food hygiene training course for food handlers was launched in October 2010. The refresher course is to ensure food handlers continue to practise good hygiene. The refresher training requirements was revised, with effect from 1 October 2014, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Revised refresher training requirements

Refresher Training

Compliance

1st refresher training

By 5th year from the Basic Food Hygiene Course (BFHC) course passed date

2nd and subsequent refresher training

Every 10th year from last refresher course pass date

With effect from 1 October 2014, the refresher training for food handlers was aligned with WSQ standards. There are two training options available, as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Training options 

Training Option

Duration

Training & Assessment

3 hours training + 1.5 hour assessment

Assessment Only Pathway

1.5 hour assessment

Upon successful completion of the assessment, a Statement of Attainment (SOA) will be awarded to the participants, certifying that they have met the refresher training requirements for food handlers.

SFA continues to recognise the Refresher Food Hygiene Course certificate awarded by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), issued from October 2010 to June 2014. Food handlers who have attained the ITE Refresher Food Hygiene Course certificate are only required to attend their subsequent refresher training 10 years from the date that the Refresher Food Hygiene Course certificate was awarded.

Cessation of mandatory typhoid vaccination

In consultation with the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), no longer requires food handlers to undergo mandatory typhoid vaccination and tuberculosis screening with effect from 27th September 2010.

For enquires regarding regulatory requirements on food handlers, please fill in the Online Feedback Form