Applying for SFA License for the Food and Beverage Industry
The food and beverage sector experienced a GDP contraction of about 25% in 2020, due to the COVID restrictions. However, things are looking up again, as the world opens up and Singapore continues to vaccinate its population. With the slowly healing economy comes the opportunities for a profitable business in the F&B sector. We hope that this guide will help business owners on how to start food retail or non-retail business in Singapore. We share with you the requirements and procedures in applying for SFA license, and where to find support to make the process smoother.
What is an SFA License?
Singapore Food Agency is the statutory board that oversees the food safety and food security in Singapore. It regulates the farm produce- from its production until its consumption. SFA’s responsibilities also include tapping technologies to raise productivity and partnering with food businesses to strengthen industry capabilities. Furthermore, the SFA is the authorizing body in licensing food establishments.
Establishments handling food for retail and non-retail must acquire a license or permit with SFA before starting operations. Some of the licenses SFA issues include food retail, supermarket, food stall, food vending, private canteen, and sale of herbal tea licenses. SFA also issues temporary permits to fair stalls that sell food and beverages.
To know more about SFA License, feel free ith our food manufacturing consultants!
Who Needs to Acquire SFA License?
Establishments doing the following business activities must acquire an SFA license.
- Handling of food intended for sale
- Sale of food (over the internet or through other channels)
- Primary food production
Additionally, the SFA license covers non-retail enterprises like:
- Brewers and distillers of vinegar, soya sauce, or fish sauce for sale to wholesalers or retail food businesses
- Manufacturer of bottled drinking water and other non-alcoholic beverages
- Cold storage facility for food intended for sale
- Factory, plant, or other premises that process meat or fish products for sale to wholesalers or retailers
- Other non-retail enterprises under Section 2F of the SFA
Requirements for Applying for SFA Retail License
Food retail establishments applying for SFA license must gather a list of approvals and support documents. To make the license application quicker, the applicants are encouraged to conduct a self-check of the relevant approvals and documents. It includes the following items:
- Approval from the Land Agency (Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Housing Development Board (HDB))
- Tenancy agreement
- Applicant details
- Statement of Attainment (SOA) upon completion of Food Safety Course Level 1
- Food Hygiene Officer Certificate
- Cleaning program
- Premises layout plan
- Letter of Authorization for application through a representative
- Pest control contract during the licensing period
- Supplementary information about the business
- Food Safety Management Plan or proof of registration for the “WSQ Apply FSMS for Food Service Establishments” course
- Photos of the interior and exterior of catering vehicle
- Vehicle log card or Tenancy Agreement of catering vehicle
- Catering vehicle cleaning program
In addition to the abovementioned requirements, a new licensing condition is put in place to address health concerns relating to the COVID virus. Starting April 13, 2020, all personnel engaged in the sale and preparation of food and beverages must wear masks or any equivalent physical barrier. Food retailers must also adhere to the new requirements stipulated under COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020. These requirements cover both new and existing licenses.
Process of SFA Retail License Application
The first step to applying for an SFA license is registering the business as a company with ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). As Singapore has been experiencing a workforce shortage, registering as a company will allow the business to hire foreign workers. SFA Food License issued to an individual does not allow hiring of foreign workers.
Next, if the business is leasing a space that was not originally used as a food and beverage (F&B) establishment, the applicant must acquire a Grant of Written Permission from URA. The applicant must do this before signing any tenancy agreement because if the URA does not permit the use of the establishment, he cannot use it for business. Moreover, if the applicant is taking over a previous F&B establishment, he can get the previous license and write to SFA for its cancellation.
Then, the applicant will have to get a layout plan and location plan that complies with the Code of Practice on Environmental Health (COPEH) and submit them to the National Environmental Agency (NEA).
All food handlers of the business must have a basic food hygiene certificate or a refresher certificate. The business must also have a Food Hygiene Officer (FHO) if the applying food business has a kitchen area exceeding 16 square meters. An FHO is also required if the business is housed in two or more adjacent units in Private & HDB shophouses.
The applicant may apply online through the LicenseOne website. There, the applicant will have to fill in basic details and submit the layout plan. If the SFA license application is not done by the intended licensee or company director, they must provide a Letter of Authority.
After the submission, the business may start renovating the premises according to the layout plan. At this stage, the business must also start creating a detailed cleaning schedule and get a pest control contract with an inspection frequency of at least once a month.
Once renovations are near completion, inform the licensing offer to arrange a pre-licensing site inspection.
SFA Non-retail License Application
Prior to the application, non-retail businesses must first register with ACRA. Afterwards, the business owner can then complete the SFA license application by filling in the application form and by submitting the following supporting documents:
- Layout plan
- Pest control contract
- Tenancy/Purchase Agreement or Letter or Declaration
Once submitted, the application will undergo an evaluation and will be processed within 14 working days. Upon successful registration, the applicant will receive the Warehouse Registration Number. The business owner can then self-print the warehouse approval letter from the GoBusiness Licensing system.
Find the Best Support for Business Startup
Starting a food business in Singapore is no easy work. Experience a smoother business startup and license application with the help of professionals!
Register with ACRA through 3E Accounting, the top Singapore company registration service provider that offers cost-efficiency, convenience, and expert support. After successful company registration, partner with GL Consultancy Singapore to complete your food establishment construction with positive and quick results.