QR codes continue to gain popularity in Singapore’s marketing industry, but now the government is taking a new approach to using the codes. The National Environment Agency (NEA) has begun using the codes to hasten their inspections of hawker centers, open-air food markets that are majorly popular in Singapore. The agency has launched a five-month trial of the barcodes to gauge how effective they could be for inspections. The agency has chosen four hawker centers throughout the country to test the codes.
Hawker centers are prone to daily inspections to ensure they are adhering to the health and safety standards set up by the government. The nature of these often puts consumers in direct contact with raw food products. While this is not inherently dangerous if the centers are well maintained, falling short of the government’s standards could put many people at risk of harmful illnesses. Inspections currently only take roughly thirty minutes to complete, but the QR codes could have these inspections completed in seconds.
Operators of hawker centers keep a sharp eye on the quality of their products to ensure they are up to the government’s standards. The temperature, age and quality of the food is checked often and recorded in a log book. With the QR codes now in place, operators will have to input this information online. When the codes are scanned by inspectors, they can see detailed information regarding that particular hawker center.
If the trial proves successful, the NEA may expand its use of QR codes beyond the four hawker centers currently using them.