Singapore food safety bill to offer greater clarity on alt-proteins
Singapore is working on a food safety and security bill designed to offer greater clarity on regulatory frameworks for novel foods like cell-based meat and gene-edited crops.
At Rethink’s Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit in Singapore, the nation state’s trade and industry minister Alvin Tam gave a keynote speech to smart protein start-ups. Singapore is home to many alt-protein start-ups and was the first country to approve the sale of cell-based meat when it granted regulatory clearance to Good Meat’s cell-based chicken products in 2020. The move cemented the nation’s reputation as a hotbed of food-tech innovation with a supportive government.
Providing clarity on regulatory frameworks for other companies is part of Singapore’s proposed ‘Food Safety and Security Bill’. It will combine food-related provisions from across eight existing acts – such as the Wholesome Meat and Fish Act and the Sale of Food Act – into one single act.
Singapore’s Minister for sustainability and the environment, Grace Fu, said that the bill is set to be tabled, but the timeframe is unknown. Fu said: “Innovations in food science are introducing novel foods, offering new opportunities to feed the world. Ensuring that such novel food is safe is critical to protect public health.”
She added: “The bill will provide greater legal clarity on the regulatory framework for new food innovations, such as novel food and gene-edited crops. We will also – in consultation with the industry – look into enhancing the requirements on food safety systems and processes.”
Fu explained that the Singapore Food Agency is already in talks with industry stakeholders to discuss “how we can all work together to collectively ensure a resilient supply of safe food for Singapore”.
The bill is designed to better ensure the safety of novel and traditional foods by enhancing the requirements for food safety systems and processes. It will look to boost the country’s food security by bringing over existing powers for the ‘Rice Stockpiles Scheme,’ which says rice importers must keep a stockpile of the grain in government-designated warehouses to ensure an adequate supply.
The announcement aligns with Singapore’s ‘30 by 30’ initiative, which aims to improve food security by producing 30% of all food consumed in the nation by 2030, limiting its reliance on imports.