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Singapore's established 'scores on the doors' will be no more
Singapore's National Environment Agency is introducing a new Food Hygiene Recognition Scheme for licensed food retail establishments. It will phase out the existing food hygiene grading system upon implementation of the new Food Hygiene Recognition Scheme in late 2020.
The new Scheme 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:
Duration of strong track record without major hygiene lapses under the Points Demerit System:
* Two or more years - Bronze
* Five or more years - Silver
* Ten or more years - Gold
Currently, to safeguard public health, all NEA-licensed food retail establishments in Singapore must meet the necessary hygiene requirements to operate, including having the necessary infrastructure and trained expertise to ensure the 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.
Since its introduction more than 20 years ago, in 1997, the grading system has helped to raise the hygiene standards of food retail establishments. About 99% of licensees were graded either 'A' or 'B' as of 31st December 2017, compared to 77% in 2006. With almost all licensees being graded 'A' or 'B', the grading system has however become less useful in helping consumers to distinguish good performers. Consumers may not know which operators have been more consistent in upholding hygiene standards as track record is not factored into the grading system.
The NEA has reviewed the existing grading system, and will replace it with the new Scheme in late 2020 to encourage operators to practice 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 has committed any serious hygiene infringements or has been implicated in a food poisoning incident (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 the NEA 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 recognition award will be given the award decal to display prominently at their premises.
To phase in the new Scheme, food retail establishments which are currently graded 'A' are invited to come on board the new Scheme on a voluntary basis, starting from 1st April 2019, by applying for an award. Those which 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.
In addition to the Food Hygiene Recognition Scheme, members of the public can obtain other useful information on food retail establishments' track record, such as suspension history and accumulated demerit points via the Food Hygiene Information Portal. The portal can be accessed through the NEA website, myENV app or via the QR code found on the licence decal displayed at all licensed premises. NEA will continue to review the information published on the Portal to help consumers make informed dining choices.
The NEA aims to uplift the hygiene standards of the food retail industry as a whole with the new Scheme. All operators are encouraged to maintain high standards of food hygiene and work towards a Gold award as they build their business in the industry.
21st June 2018