Licensing

Food Shop & Supermarket Licence

Food Shop and Supermarket Licences

Food shops are establishments such as bakeries, restaurants, food vending machines, canteens, coffeeshops or eating houses, food courts, takeaway (Food Cart), private markets and premises that sell herbal tea. The annual licence fee for a food shop is $195.  Please note that:

  • Private canteens operated by third-party vendors/businesses are required to be licensed by SFA. These include staff canteens, hostels and schools that provide boarding services with canteens, that are operated by third-party companies. SFA considers such operations/arrangements to involve the sale of food, even though it is done under a service contract such as employment contract or contract for accommodation services.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) premises with ancillary preparation and sale of food/drinks, e.g. herbal drinks and tea-leaf eggs, need to be licensed by SFA under the Food Shop (Sale of Herbal Tea) licence.

Supermarkets are establishments that operate with the sale or preparation of raw food.   

A supermarket licence is only required if the establishment is selling raw meats/poultry/seafood that have not been processed.  If the establishment is only selling raw vegetables and/or whole fruits with no additional handling/preparation, a licence is not required. 

The annual licence fee is $250 for a floor area less than 200sqm and $500 for a floor area more than 200sqm.

Applying for a Food Shop or Supermarket Licence

Before applying for a licence, please refer to the self-checklists on the licensing requirements for the various licences:

Food shop licence

Self-Checklist Foodshop

Supermarket licence

Self-Checklist Supermarket

Private market* licence

Self-Checklist Market

*Refers to a private wet market with stalls that sell raw food

The following provides a summary of the licence application process for a food shop or supermarket. For detailed information, please refer to the application guides for new food shop and supermarket licences.  

 

STEP

DESCRIPTION

SERVICE STANDARD

1

Submit complete application in GoBusiness for Food Shop or Supermarket

For complete application with layout plan, SFA will issue the In-Principle Approval (IPA) via email and GoBusiness under the “submitted documents” tab of your application.

With the IPA, applicants may proceed with the renovation.

  • To avoid delays, please prepare the documents stated in the IPA and upload them via GoBusiness under the “submitted documents” tab of your application.
  • Incomplete applications will be rejected.

 

 

5 working days if application is complete and in order

 

If application is not in order, it will be rejected within 5 working days

2

Book pre-licensing inspection upon completion of renovation

  • Make an appointment for inspection 7 days in advance via SFA online feedback form. (Select category "Licensing - Food Retail > Book pre-licensing inspection)
  • To avoid delays, applicants should ensure that all the items listed in the IPA have been complied with.

 

2 working days to confirm inspection date

3

Pay fee after licence approval

Upon full compliance with licensing requirements and submission of required documents, SFA will approve the application. You will receive a notification via email and GoBusiness.

  • For applicants with an existing GIRO arrangement with SFA, you may start operations after receiving SFA's email approval
  • For applicants not on GIRO, you may start your operations after you have made payment via AXS or GoBusiness.

Licences paid for on or after 1 Jan 2022 can be printed directly via GoBusiness. You may refer to the self-printing guide.

 

3 working days upon full compliance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


FAQs - Food Shop and Supermarket Licences

1. How soon can I hear from SFA after I submit my application?

Refer to Step 1. If you have submitted a complete application with all required supporting documents in GoBusiness, SFA will respond to you within 5 working days.

Any incomplete or incorrect submission without a detailed, drawn-to-scale layout plan will be rejected.

Please also check the email account (including junk / spam mail box) that you have used for licence application to ensure that you have responded to any request for action (RFA) from our officers. SFA will not be able to approve your application until you have responded to our RFAs. If we have not heard back from you after seven days despite reminders, we will take that you are no longer interested in the application and will proceed to take the case as closed.

For company filer who is unsure if any prior application has been submitted for the same premises, you are advised to write to SFA at online feedback form for assistance to check. Please refrain from submitting duplicate applications.

 

2. When can I start my renovation?   

Upon receipt of a complete application (see Step 1), SFA will process and issue an IPA via email within 5 working days. You can also download the IPA via GoBusiness under the “Submitted documents” tab of your application.

Upon receipt of the IPA, you may proceed with the renovation. Please refer to the IPA for the licensing requirements that you will need to comply with. You may also refer to Licensing Requirements on SFA website.

To avoid delays, you should prepare the documents stated in the IPA and upload them in GoBusiness. The documents include URA’s Change of Use or HDB’s approval, tenancy agreement including a Certificate of Stamp Duty issued by Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), cleaning program and pest control contract. It is also important that you plan the renovation and equipment set up schedule ahead of time so as to minimise the time taken for renovation.

 

3. How is pre-licensing inspection conducted?

From January 2022, depending on the licence category, either virtual pre-licensing inspection (video conferencing) or photograph submission will be required. SFA will inform you on the applicable mode in the IPA.

 

4. Where can I find out if my application is to go through virtual pre-licensing inspection or photograph submission?

SFA will inform you on the applicable mode in the IPA letter issued for your application.

 

5. When is the earliest I can book a pre-licensing inspection for my food shop? How can I book an inspection?

Refer to Step 2. Please book the virtual pre-licensing inspection at least 7 days in advance via SFA online feedback form (Select category "Licensing - Food Retail > Book pre-licensing inspection".) Please provide the relevant information (premises address, application number/licence number, name and contact number) in your request. SFA will confirm your pre-licensing inspection date within 2 working days.

 

6. Do I need to book a pre-licensing inspection with SFA if my application goes through photograph submission? What do I need to submit to SFA instead?

You are not required to book for a pre-licensing inspection if your licence category falls under photograph submission. Upon receipt of the IPA, you may proceed with the renovation. SFA will send you a copy of the photograph submission template, food shop declaration form together with the IPA issued. When the renovation/set up of the premises is completed, please follow up on the items stated on the IPA and submit to SFA. When you have complied with all the outstanding items, SFA will approve the application, as per Step 3.

 

7. Where can I find more information on virtual inspection or photo submission?

You will receive instructions via email when the IPA is issued by SFA. Should you have further clarifications, please approach the SFA officer directly for assistance.

The step-by-step guides are also available here: User Guide for Virtual Inspection and User Guide for Photo Submission.

 

8. What will be inspected during the pre-licensing inspection?

During the inspection, SFA will verify if the setup of the premises is in accordance to the layout plan submitted and whether all the items listed in the IPA have been complied with. For example, SFA will check if exhaust is fitted with an air-cleaner, floor trap for the discharge of wastewater to sewer, adequate washing facilities, storage facilities and etc. At the end of the pre-licensing inspection, the officer will issue you with an inspection report

If there are no outstanding issues, the officer will recommend the application for approval.

However, if there are outstanding items that required to be rectified/complied at the end of the pre-licensing inspection, the officer will indicate in the inspection report. Please comply with these outstanding items and inform the inspection officer.

When you have complied with the outstanding items, the officer will recommend the application for approval as per Step 3.

 

9. Is there a cut-off date to complete the application after IPA issued?

If documentary requirements cannot be fulfilled within 2 months, SFA will treat the application as null and closed.  Applicants should submit a new application once the necessary documentation is complete.

 

10. When do I submit the documents to SFA?

You should prepare the documents stated in the IPA as soon as possible and upload the documents via GoBusiness. The documents include URA’s Change of Use or HDB approval, tenancy agreement including a Certificate of Stamp Duty issued by Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), cleaning program and pest control contract.

 

11. How soon will my application be approved after inspection?

Refer to Step 3. SFA will approve the application within 3 working days upon the applicant’s full compliance with licensing requirements and submission of required documents.

 

12. When can I commence business?

Refer to Step 3 on when you may commence business.

 

13. Can an individual hold a SFA food shop licence if foreign workers are employed in the shop?

Only company entities are allowed to employ foreign workers in accordance with MOM policy. Companies that do so must register the food shop licence in the name of the company. Licence issued in an individual e.g. Director will not be acceptable for the purpose of work pass application.

For more information on work pass related matters, please refer to MOM webpage or call MOM Contact Centre at 64385122.

 

14. How much does the food shop licence cost and how long is the validity?

The Food Shop Licence including entertainment outlets serving food e.g. pub, bar, discotheque, and night club, costs $195.00 and is valid for one year. Apply for one via GoBusiness.

Should you have further enquiries, please submit your enquiries via the Online Feedback Form. To help us assist you in the enquiry, please provide details of your intended food business including information on the food items being sold, how the items are processed, and type of equipment used.

 

15. What is the difference between a food shop licence and a food stall licence?

A food shop refers to a shop operating as an independent unit such as a takeaway kiosk, snack counter, restaurant, caterer, canteen, coffeeshop, food court, etc. A food stall operates within a food shop such as canteen, coffeeshop, food court, private market or hawker centres.

 

16. I have applied for a licence under the wrong entity/wrong licence type. Can I change them?

Please note the licensee name and licence type cannot be amended and licences issued by SFA are not transferrable.

If you have submitted the application under the wrong entity or wrong licence type, please resubmit the application using correct account (SingPass/CorpPass). If you are unsure on the type of licence to apply, you can write to Online Feedback Form for assistance.

If your business operations have changed and you need an SFA licence of a different type, you are required to submit a new foodshop application via GoBusiness.

If your business experienced a take over or merger, and the operating entity’s UEN has changed, you are required to submit a new foodshop application on GoBusiness using the new UEN’s corpPass via GoBusiness.

Applying for a Food Vending Machine Licence

Food vending machines that are equipped with temperature control and/or in-machine food preparation functions must be licensed in order to operate. SFA will issue a single licence to the food vending machine operator to operate multiple vending machines.

The annual fee for a food vending machine licence is $195.00.

Applying for a licence to operate food vending machine(s)

Note: The licence is called a Food Shop Licence. During the application process, select "Food Vending Machine" at the section to describe your food business activity. 

STEP

DESCRIPTION

SERVICE STANDARDS

1

Submit complete application via GoBusiness

The following documents should be included:

· Equipment layout of vending machines (both interior and exterior)

· Detailed business proposal of the vending machine operation (Please refer to attached guide [PDF, 11 KB] on preparing the business proposal)

· Locations of the vending machines (Please refer to attached excel template [XLSX, 11 KB])

· Tenancy agreement of any single vending machine location

Note: The operating address can be the location of any one of the vending machines.

 

5 working days if application is complete and in order

2

Complete Photograph Submission

SFA will send you a copy of the photograph submission template with the IPA issued. Please ensure that the requirements listed here [PDF, 20KB] have been met and submit the completed template to SFA.

-

3

Pay fee after licence approval

Upon full compliance with licensing requirements and submission of required documents, SFA will approve the application. You will receive a notification via email and GoBusiness.

· For applicants with an existing GIRO arrangement with SFA, you may start operations after receiving SFA's email approval

· For applicants not on GIRO, you may start your operations after you have made payment via AXS or GoBusiness.

Licences paid for on or after 1 Jan 2022 can be printed directly via GoBusiness. You may refer to the self-printing guide.

 

3 working days if application is complete and in order

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAQs - Food Vending Machine Licence

1.     How does SFA determine which vending machine operators require a licence from SFA?

SFA takes a risk-based approach in regulating food vending machines. As such, food vending machines with temperature control and/or in-machine food preparation functions must be licensed. 

Licensing required

Food vending machine serves/is able to:

Licensing not required

Food vending machine serves:

Cooked meals, including cook-chill and cook-freeze meals

Packaged or loose snacks without the need for temperature control e.g. potato chips, biscuits and confectionary

Conduct in-machine food preparation e.g. addition of toppings, cutting, boiling, grinding, juicing, mixing

Canned, packed or bottled beverages e.g. carbonated drinks, tetra-packed drinks, UHT milk

Ice-cream/yoghurt machines

Packaged bread

Packaged food that is to be stored chilled e.g. cut fruits, salads, milk, yoghurt drink, fruit juice

Drinks machines with only dry powdered ingredients

Packaged raw meat or seafood

 

2.     My company has a variety of machines for different food types; do I need to obtain multiple food vending machine licences?

SFA will issue a single licence to the food vending machine operator to operate multiple vending machines. If you will be operating a variety of machines, please include this information in the detailed business proposal in step 1 above. You will also be required to inform SFA of all planned and existing locations of the vending machines.

3.     What are the food sources that can supply food to vending machines?

All food for sale in vending machines must be obtained from licensed/approved source(s) i.e. SFA-licensed central kitchens, food from licensed importers and/or SFA-licensed food catering operations. The list of food items for sale must be communicated to SFA through the business proposal before operations commence. The sale of food from unlicensed sources/premises is strictly not permitted under the Environmental Public Health Act (EPHA). SFA will take enforcement for any infringements.

4.     How do I update SFA on the locations of new vending machines after the licence has been issued?

You can use the attached excel template to update the Food Services Department. Please submit the form with your licence number via SFA's Online Feedback Form.

FAQs - Canteens

1)     My school provides boarding services for the students. We provide a hostel kitchen for the students to prepare their own food. Do we need to obtain a SFA canteen licence?

No. Since the food prepared is for personal consumption and not for sale, the hostel kitchen does not need to be licensed. A SFA licence would be required if the hostel kitchen is managed by a third-party operator to serve food to the student residents. Note: The licence is called a Food Shop Licence. During the application process, select the relevant "Canteen type" at the section to describe the food business activity.

2)       My company provides free-of-charge, in-house meals for my staff. The kitchen operation is manned by in-house staff. Will my canteen operation need to obtain a licence from SFA?

No. Only private canteens operated by third-party vendors/businesses under a service contract need to obtain a licence from SFA to operate.

3)       My company’s staff canteen is outsourced to a third-party operator but my company oversees the canteen operations. Who should apply for and hold the licence?

The operator of the canteen should hold the licence. In this case, the third-party operator should hold the licence.

4)     The staff canteen in my company provides free meals to staff. However, the food is catered from external parties, i.e. prepared offsite at the caterer’s premises. Does my canteen need to be licensed by SFA?

No. Since the food is prepared by external parties, a SFA licence is not required. Please note that you should only obtain catered food from SFA-licensed food caterers or central kitchens. 

FAQs - Sale of Herbal Tea

Licence for the Sale of Herbal Tea

Note: The licence is called a Food Shop Licence. During the application process, select "Sales of Herbal Tea" at the section to describe your food business activity

1)     My company currently operates a TCM shop with ancillary onsite food & drinks preparation. Are the areas used to display goods i.e. dried herbs required to be designed as stipulated in licensing conditions?

The licence will only cover the areas used to prepare and sell food/beverages. Hence, only such food preparation areas are required to be designed according to the requirements stipulated in the licensing requirements.

2)       What food is permitted for sale under Food Shop (Sale of Herbal Tea) licence?

Other than herbal tea, food involving simple preparation (e.g. boiling) such as tea-leaf eggs are permitted under the Food Shop (Sales of Herbal Tea) licence.

FAQs - Food Shop (Pubs/Bars/Nightclubs/Disco)

Note: The licence is called a Food Shop Licence. During the application process, select "Pubs, Bars, Nightclubs, Discos" at the section to describe your food business activity". 

1. With the announced resumption of the nightlife sector on 19 April 2022, what should operators of pubs, bars, nightclubs and discos do if they intend to operate food and beverage activities? 

As announced by the MTI and MHA on 04 Apr 2022 on the resumption of the nightlife sector, all nightlife establishments will be permitted to fully reopen from 19 Apr 2022. To facilitate the resumption of activities, please be informed about the applicable processes for the various scenarios:

If you have obtained URA’s endorsement for a temporary conversion to pivot to F&B operations that remains active on 19 April 2022, SFA will be updating your licence from a Snack counter/Restaurant licence to a Food Shop (Pub/Bar/Nightclub/Disco) licence. During the transition, you may continue operating under the current licence. A notification will be sent via GoBusiness once the update is completed. There is no action required from you except to print out your licence when you receive the notification.

If you have received approval from URA for a Change of Use application to convert your premises to F&B but intend to operate as pub, bar, nightclub or disco, you will need to submit a fresh request to URA to change your premises’ use to Pub/Bar/Nightclub/Disco and submit URA’s planning approval to SFA via the online feedback form on our website for us to update a Snack counter/Restaurant licence to a Food Shop (Pub/Bar/Nightclub/Disco) licence.

If your licence has expired, you will need to submit a new application via GoBusiness to operate a Foodshop in a Pub/Bar/Nightclub/Disco. Incomplete applications without a complete layout plan will be rejected. SFA then will issue an in-principle approval letter within 5 working days after we have received a complete application. SFA will approve the application within 3 working days after necessary inspections and documentary checks.

Should you require further clarification or assistance, you may contact us via our online feedback form.