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Singapore Food Agency (SFA)

The Sale of Food Online via E-commerce Platforms

The Sale of Food Online via E-commerce Platforms

The sale of food via the Internet through e-commerce platforms, such as online marketplaces, bricks and clicks1, social media platforms and food delivery services, is increasingly prevalent in Singapore. E-commerce platforms2 act as intermediaries between the food sellers3 and customers. As e-commerce platforms do not carry out any handling, cooking or other forms of processing of food, they currently do not require a licence to operate.

Food sellers who sell on e-commerce platforms have the responsibility to ensure that the food they sell are obtained from SFA-regulated sources, and are prepared/processed in a safe and hygienic manner that does not compromise food safety.

Food sellers are subject to food safety and hygiene requirements under the Sale of Food Act (SOFA) and Environmental Public Health Act (EPHA). SFA will take enforcement action for any infringements of these requirements.

Section 15 SOFA: Selling unsafe or unsuitable food

(1)  A person must not sell food that the person knows or ought reasonably to know is unsafe.

(2)  A person must not sell food that the person knows or ought reasonably to know is unsuitable.

(3)  For the purposes of subsection (2), it is immaterial whether the food concerned is safe

Section 40 EPHA: Articles of food unfit for human consumption

(1) No person shall, without lawful excuse, have in his possession for sale by retail any article of food intended for human consumption which is unsound or unfit for human consumption.

 Consumers should also exercise discretion when purchasing food products online. If in doubt about the food product, they should obtain more information (e.g. expiry dates, food labels) from the sellers or online platform before they decide to purchase the product.

Refers to business models which operate both online and offline, i.e. a business which has physical premises as well but also sells its products online

2 Refers only to platforms which conduct activities related to the buying and selling of food via the Internet

3 Refers to anyone who sells food over the internet, via e-commerce platforms

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