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Parliament Q&A

Written Reply by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Virtual Food Business, on 18 Feb 2020

Ms Rahayu Mahzam: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources what is the current number of "virtual" restaurants that operate by food apps in Singapore; (b) whether there have been any hygiene lapses in these shared food preparation premises; and (c) what additional measures is the Ministry taking on "virtual" restaurants to safeguard public health and prevent food poisoning.

Reply by Minister Masagos Zulkifli:

 

         “Virtual” food businesses, also known as “cloud kitchens”, are food establishments that do not have a physical store front but sell food directly to consumers through online food delivery platforms. They are licensed by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) under the Environmental Public Health Act. There were 61 of such food businesses as of 31 Jan 2020.

2       Just like any other food establishment, “virtual” food businesses must comply with SFA’s food safety requirements and standards, and ensure that the food they prepare is safe to eat. For instance, their food handlers and food hygiene officers must all be trained and certified under the Basic Food Hygiene Course and the Workforce Skills Qualifications’ “Conduct Food & Beverages Hygiene Audit” programme respectively.

3       These “virtual” food businesses are also subjected to inspection and enforcement actions by SFA just like other food establishments. Since “virtual” food businesses started being licensed in 2017, there has been one food hygiene and safety offence committed which involved an unregistered food handler. Should a “virtual” food business be suspended due to food hygiene and safety lapses, its food handlers and food hygiene officers must undergo re-training and re-certification as per any other food establishmentas per any other food businesses, .

4       Food safety is a joint responsibility across the industry, consumers and the Government. All food establishments must play their part to upkeep high standards of food safety as well as environmental and personal hygiene at all times.

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