Food

AVA regulates the export and transshipment of meat, fish and eggs*. Traders of these foods are required to obtain the relevant licences and permits before export or transshipment.

Exporting refers to sending food out of Singapore and into another country.

Transshipping refers to transporting food between countries via Singapore. 

*Separate requirements apply to the transshipment of fresh eggs. See section 'Transshipping Fresh Eggs via Singapore' below for more information.


What to Do before Exporting or Transshipping

The diagram below summarises the requirements and procedures for exporting food out of Singapore.

Before Exporting Food

1. Check your product export eligibility


Before you export any food product to a new destination, find out the requirements of the country of destination to confirm if your product is eligible for entry. 

You can find this information on the websites of the competent authority of the country of destination, as well as from your importers. View the list of links to the import requirements of various countries.

As import requirements may change from time to time, confirm these requirements with your clients (i.e. importers) before planning to export.

2. Apply for trader’s licence from AVA


Apply for a trader’s licence from AVA before you:

  • export or transship meat, fish or processed eggs, or
  • transship fresh fruits and vegetables.

The following are not regulated by AVA, and you will not require a trader’s licence from AVA to:

  • export fresh eggs and fresh fruits and vegetables, or
  • export and transship processed food and food appliances.

Find out if you need a trader’s licence by checking which group your food is classified under. See General Classification of Food & Food Products for more information.

3. Seek pre-approval of export establishment


Some destination countries require certain food products to be manufactured or processed in approved and listed establishments before the product is allowed entry.

Local food processing establishments can seek pre-approval or registration for export to a specific country by contacting AVA at (65) 6805 2992.

Below are the steps interested processors need to take for pre-approval:

STEP DESCRIPTION
STEP 1: Submit the necessary information together with the application to AVA.
STEP 2:    AVA will examine your application and conduct on-site visits to confirm that your establishment complies with the conditions of the importing country.
STEP 3:   AVA will notify you of the final approval by the government authority of the importing country.
STEP 4:   Commence export operations after the approval.
STEP 5: The authority in the importing country may send their inspectors to Singapore to audit and verify the conditions of your approved establishments as and when they deem necessary. 

AVA facilitates such foreign inspection missions, e.g. the EC Food and Veterinary Office (FVO), the US Food and Drug Administration, etc.

4. Apply for export documents


Find out the export documents required by the country of destination by visiting the website of the country’s relevant authority. Documents might include export certification, documentary proof from approved sources, etc.

Food exporters can apply for the following documents from AVA:

  • Export Health Certification for Meat, Fish and Dairy Products 
  • Export Certification for Processed Food
  • Free Sale Certificate (Food)

See the section below on Export Certification Process for more information.

5. Apply for export or transshipment permit via TradeNet


You are required to obtain an export or transshipment permit for every consignment of food you are exporting or transshipping. You can apply for the permit via TradeNet.

Transshipping Fresh Eggs via Singapore


Transshipping refers to transporting food between countries via Singapore.

To transship fresh eggs through Singapore, you need to obtain an AVA permit for the Import/Export/Transshipment of Birds/Eggs (Commercial Purpose). You can apply for the permit via the LicenceOne (AVA e-Licensing) Website

You must also meet the following requirements:

  • The eggs must come from bird flu-free countries 
  • No other eggs from a different consignment should be carried in the same conveyance during transshipment through Singapore

Export Certification Process

Traders who wish to export food and food products have to meet the destination country’s import requirements, which may include obtaining export certification.

You can apply for the following types of export certification from AVA:

  • Free Sale Certificate (Food)
  • Export Health Certification for Meat, Fish and Dairy Products
  • Export Certification for Processed Food

AVA’s export documentation facilitates the export of food to more than 40 countries, including the EU, Australia and New Zealand. We also provide technical advice and assistance to existing and potential exporters of agricultural products and processed foods.

To find out the import requirements of the country of destination, visit the website of its competent authority. View the list of links to the import requirements of various countries.

Free Sale Certificate (Food)


The Free Sale Certificate (Food) is a form of AVA endorsement for products intended for export, including meat, fish and egg products and processed food products.

Apply for the Free Sale Certificate (Food) online via the LicenceOne (AVA e-Licensing) website. Please note that you are required to log in and locate the specific certificate application.

The Free Sale Certificate (Food) costs S$16.80 per certificate and takes 3 working days to process.

Export Health Certification for Meat, Fish and Dairy Products


Most countries require each imported consignment of meat, fish or dairy products to be accompanied by certification that the product is safe, wholesome and meets the country's requirements. 

The certificate might be in the form of government to government certification. Some importing countries (e.g. the EU) have Health Certificate formats for exporting countries to comply with.


Prerequisites for request for export certification

Before you apply for export certification of your food product, ensure that:

  • the establishment which manufactures the product is licensed by AVA (For more information on licensing of food establishments, see Setting Up Food Establishments);
  • the product originates from Singapore, or has gone through some value-added processing in Singapore;
  • the product complies with the AVA Wholesome Meat and Fish Act; and
  • the establishment and the product comply with the standards and regulations of the intended importing country.

Application for export health certification

Before you are issued export health certification, AVA will conduct inspections and/or laboratory testing on your establishment’s processing lines and/or export consignments.

This is to ensure that food intended for export is safe, wholesome and accurately described. Inspection and testing also ensure that the importing countries' requirements are met.

Your final product must meet regulatory requirements, while the establishment which processes the product must meet facility requirements as well as sanitation conditions.

Below are the procedures to apply for export health certification for meat, fish and dairy products.


1. Register for a company e-Services account

Applications for export certification must be made online. Register for a company account via the AVA Inspection & Laboratory e-Services.


2. Apply for export certification and book an inspection

Make an online application via the Inspection & Laboratory e-Services for export health certification and book an appointment for inspection. 

You are required to provide the following details in your application:

Product Details
  • Product/Item Description
  • Preferred Date of Inspection
  • Processing Date
  • Species (for fish and fish products only)
  • Product Packing Quantity in the following format:
Shipment Details
  • Export Value (SGD)
  • Export Country and Port/City
Samples & Tests
  • Select tests required for the product
  • By default, 1 set of tests will be performed for each requested test
Your Preferences
  • Certificate collection method (i.e. "Self Collection" or by post)
  • Preferred method of receiving notification and results status

Upon confirmation, you will receive an SMS or email notification stating the date for the on-site inspection and sampling (if any), as well as your application number.


3. Prepare required documents for 1st on-site inspection

Prepare the following required documents for the 1st on-site inspection by AVA officers: 

  • List of Ingredients of animal origin
  • Health certificates for ingredients of animal origin
  • Certificate of analysis
  • Cargo Clearance Permits
  • Certificate of origin
  • Catch certificates (for fish and fish products)
  • Process flow chart of the specific product to be made
  • Any other documents requested by AVA or required by importing country

These documents may change depending on the requirements of importing countries.


4. Amend your quantity for export and schedule 2nd on-site inspection

Use your application number to amend the final quantity for export and schedule the 2nd inspection. 

You will receive an SMS or email confirmation stating the date for on-site inspection and sampling (if any).


5. Prepare required documents for 2nd on-site inspection

Prepare the following documents for the 2nd on-site inspection and sampling by AVA officers:

  • Temperature charts or monitoring Records related to HACCP critical control points
  • Production records 
  • Labels or packaging (if available)

For subsequent on-site inspections (other than sampling), you will need to prepare the following documents:

  • Stock out-going record
  • Stock-receiving record
  • Packing list

6. Obtain the test results and export health certification

Samples collected will be tested at AVA's food testing laboratory, the Veterinary Public Health Laboratory (VPHL).

The turn-around time for inspection, testing and certificate issuance is dependent on product type. Generally, the process takes 2 to 10 working days.

Your establishment will be informed of the outcome of the laboratory tests once completed.

If your consignments meet requirements (i.e. results of inspection and tests are satisfactory):

  • Furnish AVA with the necessary shipping details for the preparation of export health certificates.
  • Your establishment will be issued export health certification. Collect your certificates from the counter at VPHL or request for the documents to be posted directly to you.

If your consignments fail to meet requirements (i.e. results of inspection and tests are unsatisfactory):

  • Your establishment will be issued a laboratory report (i.e. Certificate of Analysis) instead of export health certification.

Fees and Charges

Fees are chargeable for inspection, laboratory testing and certification services:

Tests Chargeable per test, at prevailing testing fee rate
Technical service:
  • Normal rate
  • Inspection booking cut-off timing at 7.00am for inspection the next working day
S$38 per hr or part thereof
Professional service:
  • Urgent application
  • Any application received between 7.00am - 12.00pm* requesting for inspection the next working day
 S$80.00 per hr or part thereof
 Documentation S$20.00 per document 
 Certified True Copies S$9.45 per copy 

*No applications requesting for an inspection on the next working day will be accepted after 12.00pm. Special requests shall be entertained only when applicants are able to support the request with valid reason, at a charge of S$80 per hour or part thereof. This is subject to the availability of inspection officers.

Inspection charges billed per visit

Inspection fees will be charged based on the total time spent in a single trip regardless of the number of applications (e.g. inspection for veterinary health certificate plus inspection for export health certificate, etc.), instead of the total time spent per application.

This reduces fees for food exporters who combine multiple export consignments and inspections into a single visit.

Note that time spent includes inspection time as well as travelling time between the office, laboratories and the premises.

Export Certification for Processed Food


Most importing countries require consignments of food products to be accompanied by official food export documents. These documents may include food export certification.

Local traders intending to export processed food products can request for different types of food export certificates from AVA.

Prerequisites for request for export certification

Before you request for export certification of your food consignments, ensure that:

  • the establishment which manufactures or processes or packs the food consignments is licensed by AVA (For more information on licensing of food establishments, see Setting Up Food Establishments);
  • the food consignments comply with the AVA Sale of Food Act Cap 283 and the Food Regulations*; and
  • the establishment and the food consignments comply with the standards and regulations of the intended importing country.

*For food consignments that do not meet the requirements of the Food Regulations, AVA may consider issuing a statement of fact if you can furnish evidence that such standards are acceptable to the relevant authorities or comply with the food laws of the importing country.

Apply for export certification

You can make online applications for the Food Export Certificate via the LicenceOne (AVA e-Licensing) website.

Back to Top LAST UPDATED ON Tuesday, March 01, 2016
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