On-site audit inspections are conducted at licensed local food establishments to determine their grading status. The AVA inspector (left) also provides advice to help proprietors improve and upgrade their premises.

LOCAL FOOD FACTORIES SCALE GREATER HEIGHTS IN FOOD SAFETY EXCELLENCE

We speak to establishments that have recently been upgraded from the 'B' to 'A' grade, to learn their experience in successfully implementing improvements.

Made-in-Singapore food products are trusted locally and internationally for being safe and wholesome. Through AVA's Food Factory Grading System, we ensure that food establishments observe good manufacturing practices. We also work hand-in-hand with local food establishments to raise the bar on food safety and hygiene standards.

AVA’s Food Safety Awards Night celebrates this partnership and recognises food establishments’ efforts and achievements in consistently attaining the ‘A’ grade under AVA’s Food Factory Grading System. Deserving winners received the Food Safety Excellence Awards, a prominent mark of recognition. Since its inception in 1995, the number of recipients has grown from 24 to an impressive 124 today.


“The AVA officers who conducted our routine checks were always encouraging. They often highlight areas of improvement that we can work on, which we appreciate. This has enabled us to raise our standards even more and gain a better grade in the process.”

Mr Wu Jun Jie,
Foodgnostic Pte Ltd


Forging Successful Public-Private Partnerships

Foodgnostic Pte Ltd’s facility is HACCP-certified and the company is working towards certification in ISO 22000 food safety management systems by the end of 2015. (Photo: SPRING Singapore)

Such developments are heartening and speak well of the collaborative efforts between AVA and the food industry. “Over the years, AVA officers have helped many food establishments improve their food safety grading,” said then Minister of State for National Development and Defence, Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman during his speech at the Food Safety Awards Night on 30 Jul 2015. “In 2014, 14 establishments were upgraded from D to C, 39 from C to B, and 5 from B to A.”

Mr Wu Jun Jie of Foodgnostic Pte Ltd, one of the companies whose ‘B’ rating was upgraded to ‘A’, agreed. Thanks to the sound recommendations of AVA officers arising from annual audit assessments, the company was able to implement effective measures to improve its factory's cleanliness. “The AVA officers who conducted our routine checks were always encouraging,” said Mr Wu. “They often highlight areas of improvement that we can work on, which we appreciate. This has enabled us to raise our standards even more and gain a better grade in the process.”

Ms Belyn Ong, QA Manager for Kee Song Brothers Poultry Industries Pte Ltd was equally appreciative of the AVA team. Its upgrade from B to A was a pleasant surprise. It had recently expanded its slaughtering processing premises and did not expect to achieve an ‘A’ grade so quickly. “The team is proud to work in a ‘grade A’ establishment and we’re more committed than ever to maintain excellent food hygiene practices and proper food handling,” said Ms Ong.


“Singapore has an international reputation for stringency with regards to food safety standards and this, in addition to a strong reputation for cleanliness and quality, was one of the principal reasons that TWG Tea established its headquarters in Singapore. The ‘made in Singapore’ brand is a stamp of excellence that is recognised by our customers globally.”

Mr Rith Aum-Stievenard,
Chief Operations Officer, TWG Tea Company Pte Ltd


TWG Tea Company ensures that both existing and new employees are trained in food safety, and are familiar with AVA's requirements, the HACCP system, and Good Manufacturing Practices (Photo: TWG)

TWG Tea Company Pte Ltd, an international luxury tea brand also found AVA’s expertise invaluable. “Singapore has an international reputation for stringency with regards to food safety standards and this, in addition to a strong reputation for cleanliness and quality, was one of the principal reasons that TWG Tea established its headquarters in Singapore,” explained Mr Rith Aum-Stievenard, TWG’s Chief Operations Offcer. “The ‘made in Singapore’ brand is a stamp of excellence that is recognised by our customers globally.” Thanks to AVA officers’ recommendations, the TWG Tea team implemented new improvements and, just a year later, successfully obtained the ‘A’ grade.

Advocating Food Safety Through Industry and Public Education

Aside from encouraging the industry to strive towards food safety excellence, AVA also partners the private sector to set up initiatives aimed at educating the public on food safety awareness. One such project is the Food Safety Partnership Scheme. Established in 2003, this scheme serves as a platform to recognise food manufacturers and importers, supermarket operators and food retailers who have demonstrated commendable food safety assurance and food safety consumer education efforts in Singapore. There are a total of 12 Food Safety Partners to date.

Food safety is a shared responsibility so everyone has a role to play in maintaining high food safety standards. Moving forward, we will continue to work closely with the industry and consumers to raise public awareness and ensure food safety – from farm-to-fork.

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AVA Vision is the corporate publication of the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore.
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