Saudi measures to strengthen control over imported food
It aims to ensure product safety through 16 land, sea and air outlets
Thursday – 19 Jumada II 1441 AH – 13 February 2020 AD No. [
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Riyadh: Saleh Al-Zaid
From northern Saudi Arabia, specifically in the Haditha port on the Saudi-Jordanian border, through which many food shipments pass through every day, Saudi employees were proceeding to examine a food shipment within a procedure they are used to implementing with each shipment coming from abroad.
A number of employees were distributed in carrying out their routine tasks, as two employees boarded the truck and took samples of food products for examination and analysis, while another employee was inspecting the extent to which the shipment papers matched his data on the “iPad” screen.
On the other side of the port, there is a laboratory for conducting analyzes, in which other employees work on analyzing samples of food products for other shipments.
This is what daily control teams practice in Saudi outlets from which food is supplied, as Saudi Arabia imports between 75 and 80 percent of food from many countries around the world, and the Food and Drug Authority has therefore strengthened its control systems in its land, sea and air outlets, to ensure the safety of food products Saudi intervention.
The Food and Drug General Authority is the control authority for food products entering Saudi Arabia, and its food labs were distributed in Jeddah Port, Dammam Port, Haditha Port, Riyadh Dry Port, and Jizan Laboratory near Al-Tawal Port, and these laboratories are supervising the analyzes and giving results for food safety and permission to enter them into the Kingdom.
Besides these laboratories, there are 16 outlets from which imported food comes, with hundreds of Saudi Commission inspectors working with scientific certificates in accurate fields that qualify them to examine and analyze foods with high efficiency, especially that the Saudi government provided them with the latest devices and tools that help them complete their work efficiently and quickly . During 2019, the authority’s inspectors and inspectors examined and tested nearly 3 million products in Saudi outlets, and authorized the release of about 2.9 million products at a time when more than 109,000 products were refused to be released. The development of the Commission’s procedures contributed to facilitating the procedures and increasing the effectiveness of the control of imported food at the border outlets, especially with the start of work in the electronic clearance system years ago in all outlets, as no consignment is permitted only through electronic systems, which facilitates obtaining information about the products and their importers And quickly track them in the event of a call or problems related to consumer safety, and the electronic system of prohibited lists plays an important role in tightening control over imported food as well.
The “food system” authorizes the Commission to issue technical regulations and standard specifications for food, and links the permissibility of imported food with its approval in accordance with the conditions, requirements and procedures approved by it.
The inspectors of the Food and Drug General Authority check the certificates and documents accompanying the consignment and ensure that it is complete (documentary review), and that all items mentioned in the consignment are in conformity with the documents (verify the identity of the product), and the persons to the consignment containers and perform a physical examination to ensure that the food items conform to the technical regulations And the standard specifications, and from the presence of all the explanatory data required by the technical regulations and the standard specifications on all items representing the consignment, in addition to referring the items that the inspector deems necessary to send to the laboratory to perform the laboratory analyzes Yeh.
The consignment may be rejected and it is not allowed to enter the Saudi markets at any stage of the inspection. Items that do not have any notes are permitted to be cleared, and the transaction is referred on the same day to customs to end the clearance procedures.