Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Licensing of Food Caterers and Suppliers by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Ms Hany Soh: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment in view of the recent outbreak of gastroenteritis in several pre-schools due to consumption of contaminated catered food, whether the Ministry will consider imposing medical insurance coverage for consumers as a licensing condition for food caterers and suppliers, especially for vendors who provide such services to vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly.
1 Government agencies including Ministry of Health (MOH), the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), work closely in a multi-pronged approach to reduce gastroenteritis (GE) incidents in preschools and nursing homes. Compared to the same period last year, the total number of GE incidents for the first six months of the year has roughly halved to 16 GE incidents. Out of these, only three incidents involve preschools and a nursing home.
2 SFA has no plans to require all caterers to take up medical insurance coverage for consumers. This will raise overall compliance costs when most of the industry have a good track record. Nevertheless, consumers can tap on healthcare subsidies, MediShield Life and MediSave, where applicable, to pay for medical expenses. Parents can also use their MediSave to pay for healthcare expenses for their children.