A food handler refers to any person who handles and prepares food and beverage in NEA-licensed food establishments. Chefs, sous chefs, cooks, kitchen assistants and food stall assistants are considered to be food handlers as they are primarily involved in food preparation.
Managers, captains, waiters, cashiers, dishwashers, cleaners and other service staff are generally not considered as food handlers as they are not directly involved in food preparation. However, they will be considered as food handlers if they are also involved in the handling and preparation of food and beverage. This may take the form of washing and cutting of raw fruits, vegetable and meat, processing of ready to eat food (in raw or cooked form), preparation of sauces, spices and condiments, mixing of beverage drinks, etc.
Regulatory Requirements On Food Handlers
Registration of Food Handlers
Food handlers working in food establishments need to be registered with NEA. You may register and update NEA on your food handlers by filling in this form, attaching the relevant documents and submitting them to the relevant Regional Office* in charge of your food establishment.
*To find out which Regional Office is in charge of your food establishment, you may call 1800-2255 632 (1800-CALL NEA) and provide our NEA Call Centre with the address of your food establishment. The Call Centre will then advise you accordingly.
Basic Food Hygiene Course - WSQ Follow Food & Beverage Safety and Hygiene Policies and Procedures
The Food & Beverage Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) system was launched on 12 July 2006 by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) as the national qualifications system for the F&B industry. NEA has aligned the teaching and assessment of the Basic Food Hygiene Course (BFHC) to the F&B WSQ standards with effect from 1 June 2007 in line with the government's effort to upgrade the skills of workers. The alignment to the WSQ standards also serves to improve and standardise the teaching and assessment of the BFHC.
The WSQ course consists of 6 hours of course work and 1.5 hours of assessment. Upon successful completion of the course and assessment, a Statement of Attainment (SOA) will be awarded to the participants.
NEA limits registration to food handlers trained and assessed by WDA accredited training providers and assessment centres under the F&B WSQ system as of 1 June 2007. Any person who wishes to be registered as a food handler can attend the course provided by any of the WDA accredited training providers. The list of WDA-accredited training providers can be downloaded here.
Basic Food Hygiene Course (Refresher)
The NEA first launched the refresher food hygiene training for food handlers in October 2010. The refresher training is to ensure sustained awareness on good hygiene practices by food handlers. With effect from 1 October 2014, the refresher training requirement is as shown in Table 1.
Table 1 Revised Refresher Training Requirements
1st refresher training
By 5th year from the Basic Food Hygiene Course (BFHC) course passed date
2nd and subsequent refresher training
Every 10th year from last refresher course passed date
With effect from 1 October 2014, the refresher training for food handlers would be aligned to the WSQ standards. There would be 2 training options available as shown in Table 2.
Table 2 Training Options
Training & Assessment
3 hours training + 1.5 hour assessment
Assessment Only Pathway
1.5 hour assessment
The list of WDA-accredited training providers can be downloaded here.
Upon successful completion of the assessment, a Statement of Attainment (SOA) will be awarded to the participants, certifying that they have met NEA's refresher training requirement for food handlers.
NEA continues to recognize the Refresher Food Hygiene Course certificate awarded by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) issued from October 2010 to June 2014. Food handlers who have attained the ITE Refresher Food Hygiene Course certificate would only be required to attend their subsequent refresher training 10 years from the date that the Refresher Food Hygiene Course certificate was awarded.
Cease of Mandatory Typhoid Vaccination
In consultation with the Ministry of Health (MOH), the National Environment Agency (NEA) no longer requires food handlers to undergo mandatory typhoid vaccination and tuberculosis screening with effect from 27th September 2010 i.e. food handlers are henceforth not required to undergo typhoid vaccination or be screened for tuberculosis.
For enquires regarding regulatory requirements on food handlers, please email to Contact_NEA@nea.gov.sg or contact our NEA Call Centre Hotline: 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632).