SINGAPORE: A new agency set up to oversee food safety and security may be able to require importers of key food items to have plans to mitigate the impact of food supply disruptions.
This requirement, and other legislative amendments to enhance Singapore's food security, were included in two Bills tabled in Parliament on Tuesday (Jan 15).
The Bills to establish the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), dissolve the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and to transfer some of AVA's functions to the National Parks Board were introduced by Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for National Development Sun Xueling.
"We are introducing requirements for importers of key food items to adopt plans, including preventive strategies, to mitigate the impact of supply disruptions," said a Ministry of National Development (MND) spokesman.
"This will further enhance our food security and resilience, given the changing global food landscape and climate change."
MND added that the operational details for the new requirements are being worked out, and it will engage importers on the changes "in due course".
NEW FOOD AGENCY
SFA, a new statutory board under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, will be set up on Apr 1.
It will take over food-related responsibilities from AVA, the Health Sciences Authority and the National Environment Agency, including those related to food safety, hygiene regulations and food supply.
MND added that Singapore imports food from over 180 countries and a disruption in supply will not heavily affect the overall food supply.
"In the event of a sudden and sharp food disruption, there are plans to ensure that food remains available for Singaporeans," the ministry said.
"These plans have been worked out closely with the industry, to ensure the promptness of sourcing, logistics arrangements, and distribution."