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  Food Safety
With the big push to enhance food security via technology and R&D, it has become imperative to ensure that our food is safe, including food derived from new food technologies. Food safety is a necessary component of food security. This is even more critical for future foods that do not have a history of consumption. An emerging growth is in the development of novel foods such as cultured meat. SFA started engaging the scientific community and industry on the possible approaches to regulate the safety of novel foods and its ingredients. In 2019, SFA introduced a novel food regulatory framework, which required companies to go through pre-market safety assessment for novel food that do not have a history of being consumed as food. SFA established a Novel Food Safety Expert Working Group that comprises experts in relevant fields such as food toxicology, bioinformatics, nutrition, epidemiology, public health policy and food science and technology, to provide scientific advice. An example of a novel food that has gone through a rigorous safety assessment framework is Eat Just Inc’s cultured chicken. The
novel food regulatory framework paved the way for Singapore to become the first in the world to allow cultured chicken to be sold as an ingredient in Eat Just’s nugget product in 2021.
Furthering efforts in food safety, NTU, in partnership with SFA and A*STAR, officially launched the Future Ready Food Safety Hub (FRESH) to drive food safety research for ‘Food Safety Science & Innovation’ under the Singapore Food Story (SFS) R&D Programme on 27 April 2021. FRESH is also tasked with helping build local food safety science capabilities in support of Singapore’s growing food innovation ecosystem.
FRESH will work towards boosting food safety related R&D capabilities, developing talent and enhancing food safety risk communications. One of FRESH’s key functions is to enhance R&D capabilities for food safety risk assessment and protocols for novel foods, functional ingredients, and new food processing techniques. FRESH also supports the food innovation ecosystem to allow “first-in-market” food products to be safely launched in Singapore. The agri-food industry can tap on FRESH for R&D and preparation for
regulatory assessments for novel foods. FRESH will provide useful perspectives on food safety to support efforts in urban farming and alternative proteins.
Transforming an Industry
with Agri Tech 4.0
At the Global Food Security & Sustainability Virtual Summit 2021, food security experts highlighted the need for the agri-food industry to shift to Agri Tech 4.0.
Associate Professor Matthew Tan, a Singapore representative for the private sector to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) policy partnership on food security, described Agri Tech 4.0 as a “sunrise industry”.
He shared how today’s commercial farms have a large carbon footprint, negatively impact the environment, use chemicals and pesticides that could be harmful, and are no longer sustainable. During the pandemic lockdowns, many farms suffered when there were no workers to harvest vegetables and fish were

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