Information for Food Handlers

SFA Information for Food Handlers

According to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), a food handler is defined as any individual who handles and prepares food and drinks in licensed food establishments. This includes chefs, sous chefs, cooks, kitchen assistants, food stall assistants, and food manufacturing workers, who are primarily involved in food manufacturing and preparation processes, including culturing, canning, deboning, cutting, defrosting, cooking, and packing of food in raw or cooked form.

On the other hand, individuals such as managers (e.g. restaurant manager, operations manager, food manufacturing factory manager, quality assurance/control manager), captains, waiters, cashiers, dishwashers, cleaners, logistics staff, maintenance staff, technologists (e.g. food technologist, laboratory technologist, quality assurance/control technologist), and other service staff are generally not considered food handlers as they do not directly participate in food manufacturing and preparation. However, they may be categorized as food handlers if they are also involved in the handling and preparation of food and beverages.

Registration of food handlers

To work in a food establishment licensed by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), food handlers must be registered with the SFA. Licensees can update the details of their food handlers by logging in to the GoBusiness Licensing website using their CorpPass (for company licenses) or SingPass (for individual licenses), searching for the License, then selecting Action and Amend.

The WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1 is a training program that was launched on July 12, 2006, by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), formerly known as the Workforce Development Agency (WDA). It is the national qualifications system for the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry, with a harmonized training curriculum and assessment across both retail and non-retail food businesses. As of November 30, 2020, the Basic Food Hygiene Course has been renamed the WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1 to align with the refreshed SSG Skills Framework (SFw) for Food Services.

Starting January 1, 2023, all food handlers working in both retail and non-retail food businesses will be required to pass the WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1. To meet this requirement, food handlers can choose any one of the three training options available, as indicated in Table 1.

However, in response to industry feedback, the SFA has extended the compliance date for food handler training and registration to July 1, 2023. After this date, non-compliant non-retail food establishments may face enforcement actions, and no further extensions will be granted.

Table 1: Training options to meet WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1 training requirement

Training OptionDuration
WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1 (FSC L1)6 hours training + 1.5 hour assessment
WSQ FSC L1 (Refresher)3 hours training + 1.5 hour assessment
WSQ FSC L1 (Assessment Only Pathway)*1.5 hour assessment

* Participants undergo the assessment without attending training.

Upon successful completion of the assessment for any of the above training options, a Statement of Attainment (SOA) issued by SSG will be awarded to the participants.

Refresher training requirement

To ensure that food handlers continue to practice good hygiene, the refresher food hygiene training course for food handlers was launched in October 2010. The requirements for refresher training were revised, with effect from 1 October 2014, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Revised refresher training requirements

Refresher TrainingCompliance
1st refresher trainingBy 5th year from the date of first passing the WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1
2nd and subsequent refresher trainingEvery 10th year from the date of passing the last refresher training

With effect from 1 October 2014, the refresher training for food handlers was aligned with WSQ standards. To meet the requirements for refresher training, food handlers can choose any one of the four training options available, as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Training options to meet refresher training requirements

Training OptionDuration
WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1 (FSC L1) 6 hours training + 1.5 hour assessment 
WSQ FSC L1 (Refresher) 3 hours training + 1.5 hour assessment
WSQ FSC L1 Assessment Only Pathway 1.5 hour assessment
WSQ Food Safety Course Level 2 (FSC L2)6 hours training + 1.5 hour assessment

After completing any of the aforementioned training options and passing the assessment, participants will receive a Statement of Attainment (SOA), which certifies that they have satisfied the requirement for refresher training for food handlers. Thereafter, they are only required to attend their next refresher training by the 10th year from the date of passing the course, and the same training options will be available.

SFA still recognizes the Refresher Food Hygiene Course certificate that was issued by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) between October 2010 and June 2014. If food handlers have obtained the ITE Refresher Food Hygiene Course certificate, they will only need to attend their next refresher training 10 years from the date that the certificate was awarded.

Cessation of mandatory typhoid vaccination

In consultation with the Ministry of Health (MOH), SFA no longer requires food handlers to undergo mandatory typhoid vaccination and tuberculosis screening with effect from 27th September 2010.

For inquiries regarding regulatory requirements on food handlers, please fill in the Online Feedback Form

Source: SFA website

Visit our Food Safety Courses for more information about Food and Beverage industry-related courses.