The Singapore Government will be re-organizing its food, plant health and animal management functions and regulatory agencies, according to the joint press release by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR”) and the Ministry of National Development (MND) issued on 26 July 2018. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Sciences Authority of Singapore (AVA) will be disbanded after the completion of the reorganization on 1 April 2019.

As a statutory board under the MND, the AVA is currently responsible for regulating food safety and overseeing animal and plant health and welfare. These functions will be split up amongst two agencies upon reorganization.

The first part of the reorganization concerns the establishment of the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), a new statutory board under the MEWR that will be responsible for overseeing food safety and security.

All food-related functions of the AVA, the National Environmental Agency and the Health Sciences Authority will be transferred to the SFA upon its formation. Making SFA the one-stop agency for all food security and safety issues, such integration is expected to strengthen the regulatory oversight across the entire food supply chain, streamline the licensing process for food businesses, and better prepare Singapore for the various challenges emerged from the global climate change and geopolitical risks.

The SFA will also partner with food businesses to explore and develop new capabilities and solutions, tap on innovative technologies to raise productivity and seize opportunities in the future economy. In addition, a National Centre for Food Science that consolidates the three agencies' food laboratory capabilities will be set up under the SFA to bring together competencies in food diagnostics and research and development in food security and safety.

For the second part of the reorganization, all non-food plant and animal related functions of AVA will be transferred to the National Parks Board ("NParks") under the MND. This is expected to strengthen NParks' capability in responding to zoonotic diseases as well as managing domestic animals and wildlife, animal and plant health and human-animal interactions. A new Animal and Veterinary Service will also be placed under NParks to deal with animal-related issues for animal welfare groups and pet owners and businesses, as well as other animal related feedback.

Until 1 April 2019, all affected government agencies will continue their current functions in the interim.

The joint Ministry press release published on 26 July 2018 can be found here.

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