Singapore

TCM shops could soon require licences to sell food

Changes to the food hygiene regime will be announced in due course, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Monday, in response to media reports that Chinese medical halls may require a licence to sell food like herbal tea and eggs.

Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported on Monday that the NEA could be introducing regulations, including the possibility of licensing for the sale of food.

Replying to queries from The Straits Times, NEA said it is continually exploring initiatives to improve hygiene standards in food retail operations. It added that "sufficient lead time will be provided" for the industry to adapt to any enhancements.

NEA also confirmed it held a dialogue with the Singapore Chinese Druggists Association (SCDA) earlier this month to seek their views on strengthening food hygiene standards.

Acting president of SCDA Woo Boon Chong said: "The association is collecting information from Chinese medical shops that sell herbal tea or other foodstuff made on premises."

It will hold a dialogue on June 4 after receiving feedback from members. It welcomes non-members to take part.

SCDA has about 300 members that are medical shops.

One such shop is Fong Cheong in Upper Cross Street. It sells about 50 bottles of herbal tea a day. Owner Chong Swee Lun, 67, said she does not mind getting a licence, but was concerned about the cost.

Lianhe Zaobao said it will cost $195. - THE STRAITS TIMES

foodNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCYmedicine