Many home-based F&B businesses have thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With more and more customers at home on their sofas in dire need of snacks, these businesses are getting more orders than ever.
Some of them had started their businesses after getting laid off or being forced to take no-pay leave.
However, while you can start a home-based F&B business whenever you want, you can’t do so if you’re on unlicensed public premises.
And if you get caught, a large fine is coming your way.
Low Meng Kee Food Fined for Illegal Manufacturing of Chwee Kueh & Carrot Cake
Low Meng Kee Food was fined S$2,500 yesterday (11 Aug), for manufacturing food on unlicensed premises.
According to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), the company previously had a licence to manufacture food at its premises.
But the licence was no longer valid after April 2019, because it had ceased operations to undergo major renovation works and was thus required to obtain a new licence from the SFA before resuming operations.
The company got away with it at first, but then the SFA carried out a surprise inspection in July 2020 at the newly renovated premises.
There, they discovered that the company was producing chwee kueh and carrot cake without a new licence.
3,880 pieces of chwee kueh were seized by officers, who must have needed god-like levels of self-control not to gobble a few.
Meanwhile, the carrot cake that had already been distributed was immediately recalled by the company.
As SFA said in a Facebook post, the illegal production of food products at unlicensed facilities poses a food safety risk.
“In Singapore, all food manufacturing facilities must be licensed and are required to meet SFA’s requirements. These licensed establishments are also routinely inspected by SFA,” it wrote.
First-time offenders can be fined up to S$5,000, while repeat offenders face a jail term of up to three months, a fine of up to S$10,000, or both.
Legal to Manufacture Food in HDBs?
Some commenters questioned why Low Meng Kee Food was fined for manufacturing food without a licence when there are many home-based F&B businesses in operation.
In response, SFA said Low Meng Kee’s unlicensed premises were located at a building located in Senoko Industrial Estate.
It also provided a link to a page on its website, where it details the guidelines for home-based businesses.
According to the agency, residents are allowed to prepare small quantities of food in their homes for sale under the Home-Based Small Scale Business Scheme.
It said that as long as operators comply with the SFA’s set of guidelines on food hygiene practices, they will not require a licence.
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Featured Image: Facebook (SFA)