Singapore Revises Food Act, Food Safety Controls and Food Contact Articles

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January 16, 2018Nhat NguyenBlog
The Singaporean Parliament passed an Amendment Act to revise the existing Sale of Food Act, which is the principal law that regulates food-related issues. The Amendment, which was passed and signed by the president on 7 December 2017, was published in the government gazette on 18 December 2017, and revises some of the definitions and regulatory controls concerning food, food contact materials and related-issues. The amendment takes effect immediately. 
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The Amendment removes the definition of "appliance" and instead includes this definition as part of the "food contact article" definition. Previously, the definition of "food contact article" did not exist in the Sale of Food Act.  
The definition of food has also been clarified to include broad categories which have not been specifically mentioned under the previous consolidated Act. This definition now includes meat, dairy products, fish, beverages, food additives, chewing gum, and anything that is capable of being consumed. However, this definition does not extend to: 
Products under the Health Products Act
Pharmaceuticals or those under the Medicines Act;
Control drug substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act;
Poisons under the Poisons Act;
Tobacco products;
Packaging materials (except edible packaging);
Animal feed; and
Any items specified by the Ministry of Health as not being food. 
The Amendment Act also confers expanded powers to regulatory authorities. Authorized officers can now:
Determine whether both the food and food contact articles are in compliance;
Investigate contamination issues affecting food and food contact articles;
Determine whether a food or food contact article is safe or suitable and whether they pose risks to human life.
In carrying out these activities, authorities are permitted to restrict, prohibit, and apply conditions in regards to the sale, production, manufacturing, and handling of food or food contact articles. 
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By adding new definitions for food and food contact, the authorities have expanded the scope of inspection and regulatory mandates to food contact articles. However, it is unclear whether regulatory authorities will issue additional rules and requirements for food contact articles. The Amendment Act has certainly opened avenues for which regulatory authorities may act in the future. Manufacturers of food contact articles and materials should continue to monitor developments in Singapore. 
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