Frequently Asked Questions

Is the SFDA Food Consignment Certification Programme, mandatory for all the products?

The SFDA Food Consignment Certification Programme is mandatory for food products from Mandated Countries of Supply. For other countries exporting to KSA, the Programme remains voluntary but highly recommended.

What are the benefits to Exporters who undergo the SFDA Food Consignment Certification Programme?

The Food Consignments certified under the SFDA Food Consignment Certification Programme will be eligible for a quicker Custom Clearance at KSA Ports and Borders. Food consignments exported to KSA without undergoing certification under this programme may be invariably subject to Customs Inspection and Testing leading to possible rejection of goods if found to be non-compliant.

What are the Food Products that require a Halal Slaughter Certificate/Halal Certificate for their clearance at Saudi Customs upon its arrival at Saudi Ports/Borders?

Effective 1st of May 2021, Slaughtered Animal products require original Halal Slaughter Certificate and other processed meat products require a copy of the Halal Certificate issued by a Certification Body registered with SFDA but not necessarily a Halal Slaughter Certificate. The list of products requiring a Halal Certificate will be progressively updated by SFDA.

Is an Import Permit mandatory for all food products exported to KSA?

Import Permit is mandatory for certain products for Customs clearance at KSA Ports/Borders. It is not a requirement for the issuance of a Certificate of Conformity (CoC).

Currently, two KSA Government Agencies are issuing Import Permit for products regulated under the SFDA Food Consignment Certification Programme. These are the SFDA (Saudi Food and Drug Authority) and the MEWA (Ministry of Environment Water and Agriculture).

SFDA issues Import Permit for the following products:

  • Poultry meat and its products, including frozen and chilled poultry meat and its parts, canned, processed, and semi-manufactured
  • Fish and other aquatic products of animal origin, including frozen and chilled fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic products of animal origin, and their parts, canned, processed, and semi-manufactured.
  • Table eggs and its products, including table eggs, liquid eggs, and liquid and frozen egg yolks and egg powder.

Whereas MEWA issues Import Permit for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.

Is there a mandatory shelf-life for food products exported to KSA?

Yes, the shelf-life of the food product shall comply with SFDA.FD 150-1: 2021 Expiration Dates for Food Products- Part 1: Mandatory Expiration Dates.

Other products may follow the shelf-life recommendation based on the SFDA.FD/GSO 150-2: 2013 Expiration Dates for Food Products- Part 2: Voluntary Expiration Dates.

Where can Importer obtain a Commercial Registration Certificate?

The Commercial Registration Certificate shall be obtained from the KSA Ministry of Commerce. The Certificate shall include “Food Trade” as an activity to be able to import Food Products to KSA.

Is the Nutrition Labelling Requirement mandatory for all Food Products?

The mandatory inclusion of Nutrition Information based on SFDA.FD 2233 is applicable for all Pre-packaged Food Products with the exception of the following.

  • Spices and Seasonings
  • Fresh Fruits and Fresh Vegetables (including any mix of fresh vegetables or fruits)
  • Fresh and Chilled Meat, Poultry, and Fish (excluding meat, poultry, and fish with spices or water or cooked)
  • Food Products made of one nutrient such as rice, tea, coffee, and sugar.
  • Bottled drinking water and mineral water, but the percentage of its mineral content must be clarified.
  • Food products in small packs (pack size less than 25cm2)
  • Food Additives
  • Food for further processing and not sold directly to the consumer.
  • External packages of food sold through self-service, with separate nutritional label or printed on the original package.

Is container sealing mandatory for all consignment certification under the SFDA FCCP?

Container sealing is mandatory for FCL shipments. For LCL shipments, container sealing is not mandatory.

What is Product Registration Number?

Food products should be registered with SFDA prior to exporting them to KSA. The Registration of Food products is usually done by the importer in KSA. Registered Food products are provided with a unique Product Registration Number by SFDA in the format “X-X-X-DDMMYY-XXXXX”.

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