Last Updated on 2020-02-11 , 7:24 pm
Serving over 600,000 people daily in Singapore with over 130 outlets scattered all around the island, NTUC FairPrice is one of the biggest retailer of groceries and basic essentials for people living in Singapore.
As a social enterprise, we trust NTUC FairPrice to keep prices fair and affordable for end-consumers; and as a business, we expect them to provide quality products at convenient locations for customers like us. We were invited to NTUC FairPrice for an inside look at their Food Safety Management System, and honestly, we were pretty impressed. Read on and decide if you’re impressed like us, or not.
NTUC FairPrice wasn’t always called NTUC FairPrice you know
During the 1973 global oil crisis which drove prices up, the National Trades Union Congress initially started one Welcome Supermarket store with 30 workers in 1973 to moderate the cost of living for low-income households in Singapore.
In 1983, Welcome merged with the Singapore Employees Co-operative to become the NTUC FairPrice it is today.
NTUC FairPrice ensures we have safe food, enough food, at moderated prices
Let’s face it, as one of the biggest providers of food and basic essentials in Singapore, NTUC FairPrice has to keep updated with the latest food trends, health warnings and import bans, especially when it comes to something as serious as food safety.
Remember when we had an egg shortage because of the 2004 Asian bird flu crisis that led to an AVA ban on eggs from Malaysia? The egg shortage was so bad that I clearly remember the ban mian shops charging $1 extra for an egg!
But we couldn’t not have eggs right? So NTUC FairPrice went to the source for eggs from Australia and New Zealand, and also lowered the price of eggs after the import ban. It even restricted mass purchases of eggs to prevent traders from bulk buying and profiteering.
NTUC FairPrice admits it is kiasu by following international standards
NTUC FairPrice adheres to international standards ISO 22000 and ISO 9001, which is more than what is required by the current food safety standards put in place by AVA, Singapore’s regulatory authority for food. And these standards cover everything from management of food, storage of food to display and cleanliness of NTUC FairPrice.
Outlets are required to maintain their own housekeeping, especially in areas where fresh produce and products are stored and displayed. If you have a complaint, just tell the outlet staff so they can fix it quickly.
NTUC FairPrice checks temperatures more often than your mother checks yours
As NTUC FairPrice also sells fresh produce like fishes, pork and chicken, all of which could spoil and cause food poisoning should they be stored at the wrong temperature, NTUC FairPrice takes their temperature checks very seriously. The staff at the fish beds check on the temperature regularly with a thermometer, pouring ice regularly to keep the fishes fresh.
In addition, refrigerators and freezers are connected to an electronic monitoring system which is monitored around the clock and SMSes will be sent to relevant personnel should the temperature rise above critical points. For stand-alone refrigerators and freezers, staff who conduct temperature checks on them will have to fill in a “Temperature Card” throughout the day.
NTUC FairPrice doesn’t believe in wasting time and effort
As NTUC FairPrice is a firm believer in productivity, they believe Food Safety to be paramount to productivity. The Food Safety and Quality Department, commonly known as FSQ, is switching from paper to tablets, which greatly reduces the time spent on writing reports and the stores could receive the clear images taken during the audit process and rectify the issues faster.
So what has this got to do with us? Well, the lesser time spent on writing reports, the faster the Food Safety and Quality Team can alert the store to tighten their food safety procedures if any lapses are observed. This means safer food, faster rectifications and better service to the consumer. NTUC FairPrice has also implemented other productivity initiatives such as the:
- Self-checkout counters: check out faster with shorter queues
- Personal self-scanners: scan and check out faster with dedicated lanes
- Automated distribution centre: stores get their products faster
NTUC FairPrice nags at you like no other supermarket does
NTUC FairPrice put up advisories at fresh seafood beds and chillers, explaining that the seafood should be properly cooked before consumption.
NTUC FairPrice even prints stickers reminding customers to close the fridge door properly!
NTUC FairPrice spot checks like mad, but will still kena complain
We were lucky enough to meet with staff from NTUC FairPrice’s Food Safety and Quality department, all of whom took time out of their busy schedules to meet with us. When asked about their daily operations, they told us that most of the day are spent out of the office, making their way to various outlets in Singapore to conduct surprise checks regularly. NTUC FairPrice enforces strict requirements on the requirements of the outlets.
Outlets which get lower grades will be subjected to more checks in future. NTUC FairPrice staff visually inspect vegetables and fruits to check for visible damage to the products. Should any be found, they are required to remove the product from the shelves. In addition, NTUC FairPrice removes packaged products that are close to expiry.
So, the next time you find any hazards that could compromise food safety within NTUC Fairprice, do not just complain about it online; tell an outlet staff to quickly solve the problem, or contact NTUC FairPrice directly to provide feedback if you are not in the store. And don’t anyhow believe all the “customer complaints” you read online, find out more at Shocking Truth About NTUC FairPrice Scams and Myths.
Don’t be that ignorant customer who “sabo” other customers
NTUC FairPrice has a message they want to send out to consumers—us—as well. They’re doing their part in maintaining and assuring food safety compliance, but we, as customers, have to do our part too. If you’ve been bringing that slab of salmon around while you’re walking in the supermarket but then don’t want to buy after shopping for an hour, do not put it back in the fridge where another unsuspecting customer might pick it up to buy.
What if the salmon is spoilt because it’s been out of the fridge for a long period of time? At least have the decency to buy it lar, or tell the cashier you don’t want it anymore. The same goes for any frozen or chilled product such as prawns, milk, yoghurt, meat and fruits. Stop throwing the fruits back into the pile and place them gently instead, because you might just damage the fruits for the next customer. Opening the fridge doors and standing there because you want to enjoy the “aircon”, or not paying attention and carelessly leaving doors open? You might just cause the entire refrigerator’s food to spoil and be bought by another person. And please don’t open the lid of the ice cream tubs! Yes, it happens.
Fresh grads, you don’t need any experience to earn up to $4,200 with this “secret”:
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