SFDA launches strategic plan for healthy food in Saudi Arabia

A “signal light” system of green, yellow and red will be used on products to indicate the amount of sugar, salt and fat. (SPA)
Updated 02 October 2017
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SFDA launches strategic plan for healthy food in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Saudi Food and Drugs Authority (SFDA) has launched a strategic plan for healthy food in the Kingdom, which involves determining allowable rates of sugar, salt and saturated fat in processed food.
SFDA CEO Hisham Al-Ghaie said a specialized scientific team has been assigned to review research, global experiences, and recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) in cooperation with the Health Ministry.
“We look forward to working with strategic partners from ministries and the private sector,” he added.
The plan focuses on key aspects that studies have shown to have a significant impact on public health.
It will include reducing sugar and salt in food; adding sugar to nutritional data on labels; reducing the use of hydrogenated fats in the food industry; fortifying food with vitamins and minerals; and requiring restaurants and cafes to show how many calories are in their meals and drinks.
A “signal light” system of green, yellow and red will be used on products to indicate the amount of sugar, salt and fat.
The plan will also involve awareness campaigns and nutrition counseling on safe and healthy food.


ThePlace: Saudi Arabia’s ‘vegetable basket’

Updated 13 min 44 sec ago
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ThePlace: Saudi Arabia’s ‘vegetable basket’

  • Qassim in central Saudi Arabia hosts more than 8 million palm trees, which produce 205,000 tons of high quality dates every year

Al-Qassim is known for its agricultural value to Saudi Arabia. Due to the province’s fertile farming land, it is widely referred to as the Kingdom’s “vegetable basket.”

As the lushest part of the country, it is responsible for most of the Kingdom’s agriculture. Al-Qassim boasts the largest number of greenhouses in Saudi Arabia, producing a wide range of agricultural produce, including dates. 

The province hosts more than 8 million palm trees, which produce 205,000 tons of luxury dates annually that are exported regionally and internationally.

The capital of Al-Qassim, Buraidah, hosts a yearly date festival that is attended by many people, including those from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, who stock up on dates.

Al-Qassim’s farms and orchards attract nature lovers and city dwellers who wish to relax amid its palms and scenery.

These orchards have recently become an attraction for nature lovers, along with anyone who wants to get away from it all and relax. With greenery and tall palm trees surrounding the fields, Al-Qassim’s natural beauty, environmental splendor and fresh water make it the perfect destination.

Visitors come from all over to enjoy the magnificent views and get away from the dull routine of life. They are transported back in time by the simplicity showcased in the orchards by the farmers’ mud houses, and the work these laborers do from dawn until sunset, relying on authentic and traditional agricultural methods.

As well as being a tourist attraction, Al-Qassim is also known for the quality of its product. With so many farms and orchards in the region, and thanks to the fertility of its soil, a wide variety of crops can be grown, including wheat, dates, fruits and vegetables, which are sold across the Kingdom. • Photo by Saudi Press Agency