1 The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is seeking feedback from stakeholders on proposed amendments to the Food Regulations concerning the microbiological standards for ready-to-eat (RTE) food.
2 Regulation 35 of the Singapore Food Regulations specifies that food that is ready for consumption should not be contaminated with Escherichia coli exceeding prescribed limits or with any pathogenic microorganisms. The Eleventh Schedule specifies the total count and coliform count for different categories of food. Details of the current microbiological standards can be found in the ANNEX.
3 As part of efforts to align Singapore’s regulations to international standards and ensure legislation is adequate to protect public health in the area of food safety, AVA, in consultation with National Environment Agency (NEA), conducted a review of the existing microbiological standards for RTE food, taking into consideration international standards, changing food production and consumption patterns, as well as the local situation.
4 AVA proposes to adopt the following definition for RTE food, taking reference from the United Kingdom (UK) and Hong Kong (HK) guidelines for RTE food1,
“Food intended by producer or the manufacturer for direct human consumption without the need for cooking or other forms of processing effective to eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level the micro-organisms of concern”.
This definition aims to provide clarity to the food industry on the type of food products that are considered to be “ready-to-eat” and for which the microbiological standards under the Food Regulations will be applicable.
AVA invites views and comments on:
i. Whether the proposed definition of RTE food in paragraph 4 accurately describes such food. If not, please propose an alternative definition and provide supporting information in the form of authoritative references for your proposed definition.
ii. Whether the 5 categories of RTE food under paragraph 5, accurately describe all the categories of RTE food available on the market. If not, please propose additional or alternative categories and provide supporting information in the form of authoritative references for your proposal.
iii. Whether the RTE food products imported / manufactured by your company are able to comply with the proposed limits for total plate count, indicator organisms and pathogens.
All submissions should be clearly and concisely written, and should provide a reasoned explanation for any proposed revisions.
Submissions should reach AVA no later than 12:00 p.m., 23 October 2017, through mail, or email, to the following addresses: