7 Essential Steps for Importing Food to Singapore

If you’re a food and beverage operator considering food imports into Singapore, you’re aware of the need to follow strict safety regulations. We’ve crafted a step-by-step guide to simplify the process for you.

This guide is intended for individuals and businesses importing non-medicinal food products into Singapore. We’ll help you comply with the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), use TradeNet, and work with Singapore Customs, so you can sell your imported food products in Singapore.

Step 1: Get Your Import License or Permit

Begin by obtaining your import license or permit. The SFA issues these to ensure food safety in Singapore. The type you need depends on your food category:

  • For fresh foods like meat, seafood, and fruits, get an SFA license.
  • For processed foods, you’ll need an SFA registered permit.

Regardless of the type, you must:

  • Register with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
  • Activate your Unique Entity Number (UEN) with Singapore Customs.
  • Maintain a GIRO account with SFA to pay fees and get permits.
  • Adhere to relevant food legislation under the SFA.

To ensure compliance, write to the SFA with your company details, product info, manufacturer, country of origin, and import schedule. They’ll advise on required certificates.

Apply for your license or permit using TradeNet, Singapore’s trade declaration platform. Prepare your license and registration number, product details, and HS code. Additional documents may be needed, such as HACCP and GMP certificates, health certificates, and factory licenses. Once approved, you’ll receive a Unique Reference Number (URN). SFA and Singapore Customs will issue a Cargo Clearance Permit (CCP), serving as an SFA import permit. Print the CCP, make copies for clearance, and pay import fees through GIRO.

Step 2: Prepare for Your Import

After getting your license or permit and registering with the SFA, ensure a smooth import process. Understand the Sale of Food Act and research commercial food imports. Priorities include:

  • Identifying your food product category.
  • Complying with food legislation.
  • Meeting SFA’s labeling requirements.
  • Satisfying specific food type conditions.

Ensure food additives and ingredients comply with SFA and submit necessary documents for high-risk products. Import only from approved sources with SFA-accepted quality assurance programs under proper supervision.

Once prepared and your supplier is export-ready, book an inspection. Notify the SFA when ready to proceed.

Step 3: Prepare for Singapore Customs Inspection

First-time imports or new products may trigger an SFA inspection. Some products need health certifications, while items like cereals, coconut milk, and mineral water require extra documents. Expect delays for countries with high COVID-19 cases.

Step 4: Prepare Your Product for Sale

Create labels with the customer in mind, whether in the exporting country or Singapore. Labels must include specific information in English, such as food name, ingredients, net quantity, local business details, and imported food origin. Some products may need special labeling and additional info; consult SFA’s “A Guide to Food Labeling and Advertisements.”

You’re Ready to Import Food into Singapore!

Congratulations! You’re equipped to start importing food into Singapore. If you’re seeking ready-to-sell products or import support, Abrand Food, a high-quality plant-based beverage manufacturer, could be your choice to kick start your food importation. We offer curated health and wellness food products ready for sale in Singapore and help you navigate the manufacturing process. Contact us today!

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