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31 July 2009

NTUC FairPrice awarded the prestigious AVA Food Safety Excellence Award 2009

- FairPrice Fresh Food Distribution Centre is the first to receive this award

Singapore, 31 July 2009 - NTUC FairPrice’s state-of-the art Fresh Food Distribution Centre (FFDC) has been awarded the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s (AVA) prestigious Food Safety Excellence (Bronze) Award. The award was given in recognition of FairPrice’s consistent achievement of ‘A’ grading for its fresh food warehousing facility for the past five years. This is the first time that NTUC FairPrice has received this award since the facility was completed in 2002.

Mr Dickson Yeo, Director of Supply Chain, NTUC FairPrice said: “We are pleased to be the first fresh food distribution centre in Singapore to receive this award.  I am glad that AVA recognises NTUC FairPrice’s investment in sophisticated food safety technology and infrastructure as well as our commitment to continuous improvement and innovation in this regard.”

NTUC FairPrice is the first retailer in Singapore to build, own and manage its own refrigerated distribution facility for temperature-sensitive products. The FFDC is a central holding place for all of the supermarket chain’s chilled and frozen food, which are then distributed to a network of more than 200 stores island-wide every day. For the past five years, the facility has achieved an ‘A’ grading, based on its compliance with international HACCP standards, its excellent housekeeping and cold room facilities.

Citing some of the innovations, Mr Yeo said the FFDC facility operates round the clock and foods checked in are supervised by an intelligent active monitoring system called Televis SMS. 

“Televis captures the critical temperatures of the cold-rooms and alerts the relevant FFDC staff via SMS if it detects any technical abnormality or temperature fluctuation. This enables swift corrective action to be taken to avoid any damage to the foods. In total, 54 temperature alarms are monitored by the system,” Mr Yeo said.

Besides ensuring that its food handling processes and facilities meet international standards, NTUC FairPrice has set up its own FairPrice Food Safety Management System. A dedicated Food Safety Department ensures that food handling processes from its food distribution centre to the stores comply with international standards such as the ISO 9001:2008 and HACCP. All NTUC FairPrice stores and Fresh Food Distribution Centres are ISO 9001:2008 and HACCP certified.  

To further ensure that international standards are adhered to on a daily basis, NTUC FairPrice also has a Retail Quality Assessment programme in place. 

Every month, its own food safety officers conduct food safety and quality audits at all stores.  The monthly audit findings and recommendations are then disseminated to all the store managers and their supervisors.  To motivate stores to perform well, food safety awards are given to stores that have performed exceptionally well in the food safety and quality audits.

FairPrice was also awarded the AVA Food Safety Partner Award at the Food Safety Awards Night 2009. Due to its commitment in food safety, NTUC FairPrice has been given the AVA’s Food Safety Partner Award since 2005.  Being AVA’s food safety partner means that FairPrice has met AVA’s stringent food safety requirements. It shows that it has maintained consistent food safety practices and good food safety records with AVA. 

As a Food Safety partner, the co-operative has participated in numerous consumer education campaigns on food safety.  NTUC FairPrice has sponsored AVA's food safety radio programmes to educate consumers about food safety.  AVA's food safety mascot also appears in their supermarkets to interact with customers to provide food safety information to them. 

This year, NTUC FairPrice will also have communication materials presenting food safety tips in all its stores to remind customers about proper food handling. 

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