SFA takes action against 43 food establishments for non-compliance with mask/spit guard requirements

SFA takes action against 43 food establishments for non-compliance with mask/spit guard requirements

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) announced on Monday that it has taken enforcement actions against 43 food establishment licensees during the second round of targeted operations for non-compliance to mask/spit guard wearing requirements for food safety.

Following the targeted operations conducted from 26 to 30 September 2022, SFA conducted another operation from 29 Mar to 14 April 2023, focusing on premises with a high volume of public feedback received.

A total of 451 food establishments, including restaurants, food stalls in hawker centers, and food fairs were inspected.

During the inspections, most of the food handlers were found to be compliant with the mask/spit guard requirements.

However, 43 food establishment licensees were issued written warnings on their first offense for failing to ensure that their food handler(s) comply with the mask/spit guard wearing requirements. SFA has stated that stiffer enforcement action will be taken if they fail to comply with these requirements again.

SFA’s enforcement officer taking enforcement action against a food handler

Licensees found to be in breach of the licensing condition under Section 99(15) of the Environmental Public Health Act 1987 (EHPA), Section 46(12) of the Sale of Food Act 1973 (SOFA) or Section 12(1) Wholesome Meat and Fish Act 1999 (WMFA) shall be liable to a fine/financial penalty (not exceeding $10,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, and/or liable to have their license suspended or cancelled.

Since April 2020, SFA has made it a requirement for all food handlers to wear masks or other forms of physical barriers for food safety as food can be contaminated by food handlers through coughing and sneezing onto food during the preparation and handling process.

SFA has emphasized that the wearing of masks and spit guards by food handlers is crucial to safeguard public health, particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The public is encouraged to report any potential violations to SFA via the online feedback form.

SFA may engage the feedback provider for more details as part  of the enquiry and gathering of evidence, and it will not hesitate to take enforcement action against errant licensees if sufficient evidence is obtained.

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