SFA SAFE Framework – Food Safety Level 1, 2 and 3 Courses

What is SAFE ?

The Safety Assurance for Food Establishments (SAFE) framework is a new licensing framework to provide better food safety assurance to consumers.

Under the proposed framework, food establishments will be eligible for higher award tiers if:

• They have demonstrated good track record of food safety assurance (i.e. no major food safety lapse over a period of time);


• They have in place capabilities and systems to ensure better food safety standards (e.g. appointment of Advanced Food Hygiene Officer, implementation of Food Safety Management System).

All existing licences expiring on or after 1 July 2021 will be renewed with no change in grade. To illustrate, if the previous grade was grade “A”, grade “A” will be retained.  Licensees associated with foodborne incidents may still receive a “C” grade, after SFA’s investigation.

New licences will be issued with a provisional “B” grade until the SAFE framework is implemented.

Licences downgraded to “C” will retain the “C” grade for a period of 12 months, after which the grade will be adjusted to “B”. Barring a downgrade due to another foodborne incident, licensees will retain this “B” grade until the implementation of the SAFE framework

Training Course for Food Handlers and Food Hygiene Officers

To support and complement the SAFE framework, SFA has implemented a training framework.  The Food Safety Courses (FSC) are organised into four levels:

Level 1 of the FSC covers basic food safety principles for food handlers.

Level 2 of the FSC is for food handlers who level up and take on greater responsibilities in the kitchen. It equips them with the know-how to conduct food safety checks for their specific work areas.

Level 3 of the FSC will equip Food Hygiene Officers (FHO) with the knowledge to implement food safety pre-requisite programmes and basic principles of HACCP and Food Safety Management System (FSMS).

Level 4 of the FSC are for FHOs to become Advanced FHOs — the course will cover the implementation of FSMS and how to conduct broader food safety checks and internal audits.

The breadth and depth of the curriculum increase as attendees progress through the levels. Food handlers and food hygiene officers will be required to complete the relevant courses following the rollout of the SAFE framework.

WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1 (Food handlers)

Under the SAFE framework, all food handlers in non-retail food establishments will be required to attend and pass the WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1. Food handlers in existing non-retail food establishment can start attending the WSQ Food Safety Course Level 1 now in order to meet the requirements in January 2023.

There will be no change to the current training requirements for food handlers in retail food establishments. Find out more about the Food Safety Level 1 course (WSQ Basic Food Hygiene Course).

WSQ Food Safety Course Level 2 (Food handlers)

WSQ Food Safety Course Level 2 is intended for upskilling of food handlers, who will receive additional training on conducting food safety checks at their specific work areas. Find out more about the Food Safety Level 2 course.

WSQ Food Safety Course Level 3 (Food Hygiene Officers)

A Food Hygiene Officer (FHO) is a supervisory personnel who will assist the licensee to put in place, monitor and maintain a proper food safety system. They will conduct regular checks and educate and remind food handlers to adhere to good food safety practices and personal hygiene during food preparation.  Currently, the food establishments listed below are required to appoint a FHO for each premises before issuance of licence.

 Type of food establishment Type of licene
Non-Retail Food Establishment1. Food Processing Establishment
2. Coldstore
 Retail Food Establishment1. Canteen
2. Caterer
3. Food court
4. Restaurant
-Housed in two or more adjacent units in private and HDB shophouses;
-With kitchen area exceeding 16m2
FHOs are required to attend and pass the WSQ Food Safety Course (FSC) Level 3. FHOs (e.g., in retail food establishments) who have passed the former WSQ Conduct Food and Beverage Hygiene Audit Course* or have been previously trained under the FHO course* conducted by Singapore Environment Institute (SEI) will continue to be recognized by SFA. 

Find out more about the Food Safety Level 3 Course (Food Hygiene Officer Course)


WSQ Food Safety Course Level 4 (Advanced Food Hygiene Officers)

An Advanced Food Hygiene Officer (FHO) is supervisory personnel who establishes and oversees food safety standards of their food establishment by developing, implementing and managing a Food Safety Management System (FSMS). Advanced FHOs also conduct internal audits of the FSMS and address potential non-compliances with SFA’s regulations. 

Supervisory personnel who have passed the former WSQ Apply Food Safety Management Systems for Food Service Establishments Course* or WSQ Food Safety Course (FSC) Level 4 can be appointed as an Advanced FHO.

For more information, please refer to https://www.sfa.gov.sg/food-retail/food-safety-management-system. *This course has been replaced by WSQ FSC Level 4.

Currently, food establishments with the types of licences listed below are required to appoint supervisory personnel who has passed either WSQ Food Safety Course (FSC) Level 4 or the former WSQ Apply Food Safety Management Systems for Food Service Establishments Course for each premises, to assist the licensee to develop, implement and manage the FSMS for the food establishment. Nevertheless, SFA encourages food establishments to consider designating a supervisory personnel to attain WSQ Food Safety Course (FSC) Level 4 certification so that they can be appointed as an Advanced FHO to raise the level of food safety assurance.

Type of food establishmentType of licence 
Retail Food Establishment1. Food Caterer
2. Licence with permission to provide catering as an ancillary service (e.g. Canteen with catering, Restaurant with catering)
3. In-house kitchens
Subsidies for the above WSQ courses are available from SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). Please approach the training providers for more information on course schedule, course fees and subsidies.

About WSQ Food Safety Courses

Launched by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), the Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) system is the national qualifications system for the food and beverage industry. SFA, together with SSG, have harmonised the training curriculum and assessment for retail and non-retail food businesses, in alignment with the refreshed SSG Skills Framework (SFw).

Information source : Safety Assurance for Food Establishment (SAFE) Framework

For more information about our F&B related courses, go to F&B Courses.