Saudi Food And Drug Authority

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) was established under the Council of Ministers resolution no (1) dated 07/01/1424 H, as an independent body corporate that directly reports to The President of Council of Ministers. The Authority objective is to ensure safety of food and drug for human and animal, and safety of biological and chemical substance as well as electronic products.

ِA Board of Directors, chaired by HRH Crown Prince, Depurty Premier. Its membership includes HRH Minster of Municipality and Rural Affairs as vice-chairman, and all pertinent ministers (HRH Minister of Interior, Minister of Health, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Minster of Agriculture, Minister of Water and Electricity, Minister of Finance and Minister of Economic and Planning). As well as, the Director General of Saudi Arabian Standards and Specification Organization, the Chairperson of Council of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the Kingdom, the Authority's Executive Chief, and a person specialize in food and drug.

Authority's main objectives

The main purpose of the SFDA establishment is to regulate, oversee, and control food, drug, medical devices, as well as to set mandatory standard specifications thereof, whether they are imported or locally manufactured. The control and/or testing activities can be conducted in the SFDA or other agency's laboratories. Moreover, the SFDA is in charge of consumers awareness on all matters related to food, drug and medical devices and all other products and supplies. The main objectives of SFDA can be outlined as follows:

  • Observe the safety, security, and effectiveness of food and drug for humans and animal.

  • Observe the safety of complementary biological and chemical substances, cosmetics and pesticides.

  • Observe the safety of medical devices and its impact on public health.

  • Ensure accuracy and safety of medical and diagnostic devices.

  • Launch clear policies and procedures for food and drug, and plan to achieve and implement these policies.

  • Conduct research and applied studies to identify health problems, their causes, determine its impact on public, with the consideration of methods for research / studies evaluation. The authority shall establish scientific bases for awareness and consulting services and executive programs in the fields of food and drug. This can be accomplished through the recruitment of experts & specialists or through the partnership with research bodies such as King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and/or universities research centers.

  • Control and supervise licenses procedures for food, drugs and medical devices factories.

  • Disseminate and exchange information with local and international scientific and legal agencies, and setting up a database for food and drug.

Phases of Authority's tasks commencement

The Authority will commence its assigned tasks in two phases: the first one will last for a period of five years with effect from the date of the resolution of its establishment and considered preparative and inceptive for phase two. In the first phase, it will assume the following tasks:

    Revise, develop and update regulatory laws to cope with quality requirements and health safety, and report the same to concerned parties for review and issuance through applicable legal channels.

  • Ratification of Food and Drug policies in the Kingdom and set plans targeted to ensure quality and safety of food and drug.

  • Setting of specified mechanism and practical means to help the concerned agencies accomplish administrative and field follow up to ensure easy and safe application of laws and regulatory orders.

  • Adopt methods and techniques that enable Food and Drug regulatory agencies to verify accuracy and validity of information contained in the ingredients of circulated foodstuffs and drugs.

  • Setting specified principle to allow Food and Drug regulation field workers to make prompt and direct coordination whenever necessary.

  • Launch specifications, standards and special stipulations for production, distribution, importation and registration of drugs and medical devices. This will be in coordination with Ministry of Health and Saudi Arabian Standards and Specifications Organization (SASCO).

  • Set and certify texts of National Standard Specifications related to scaling, calibration, codes and identification of products and goods, in addition to methods of sample taking for any item related to food and drug, in collaboration and coordination with Saudi Arabian Standards and Specifications Organization (SASCO).

  • Prepare specifications, procedures and methods of detecting food and drug products.

  • Launch and pinpoint hygienic specifications and requirements that food industries facilities and related workers therein shall abide by, in accord and cooperation with Ministry of Industry and Electricity, and Ministry of Commerce.

  • Draw platforms and general policies that ensure availability of appropriate drug in the kingdom, in cooperation with Ministry of Health and other governmental agencies provide health services for the Saudi people.

  • Draw up hygienic requirements that are to be available in all outlets linked with public health, in collaboration and harmony with Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs.

  • Draw rules, standards and methods that regulate drugs examination for customs clearance, in cooperation with Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance (Customs Department) and Ministry of Commerce.

  • Propose legal rules relative to application of penalties on violators of food and drugs laws, and get them issued from the competent party.

  • Launch rules, procedures and requirements for control and inspection of animals' slaughtering places, organize slaughterhouses, butcheries and meat sale outlets. This will be in coordination and collaboration with Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs.

  • The Authority undertakes to set up methods, means and plans for training and developmental programs that ensure promote competency of staff in pertinent departments. It shall also assume their implementation and supervision with these departments

  • Exchange and disseminate information, (within its scope of work and responsibilities), with local, regional and international organizations, and to find a database on Authority's scope of work as a reference organization when information is required. On the other hand, answers queries on food and drugs.

  • Conduct researches and applied studies to pinpoint health problems, their causes and identify their effects. This includes assessment of adopted methods for researches and studies, and building of scientific database to be availed for informative, educational, advisory services and executive programs in food and drug arena. This will be through specialists to join the Authority in collaboration with organizations engaged in food and drug affairs and scientific centers.

In the second phase, the Authority will assume the following procedural, regulatory and calibration tasks :

  • Conduct necessary analysis on drugs and pharmaceutical to determine thier conformity to standards and specifications.

  • Check veterinary drugs for custom clearance.

  • Conduct check up for children food, therapeutic potable water, tobacco and plant derivatives.

  • Analyze items linked to human health to emphasize their validity for human usage in addition to their compliance with standards and specifications.

  • Inspect all agricultural and animal products and goods for customs clearance.

  • Test drugs for customs clearance.

  • Apply provisions of commercial fraud fighting in food and drugs.

  • Test veterinary medicine for custom clearance.

  • Ensure availability of hygienic conditions for animal products and provide advice on quarantine.

  • Analyze chemically and microbial food and water samples, submit findings, and advice for treatment of cases according to findings, and take appropriate decisions accordingly.

  • Supervise implementation of statues and laws related to food and drug.

  • Supervise application of penalties on violators of food and drug laws.

  • Hygienic monitoring on plants producing foodstuff and drug or those related to human consumption.

  • Control imported items (food and drug).

  • Control and inspect markets, foodstuff commercial centers, restaurants, and food plants to ensure their abidance by and adherence to Saudi specifications, as well as laws of commercial fraud fighting in field of food and drug.

  • Supervise safety of food workers, hotels and make periodical examination thereon.

  • Control animal and agricultural items under agriculture and animal quarantine statues.

  • Control locally processed food items before and during production process, under the terms of quality and compliance certificate.

  • Supervise all outlets relative to public health and observe to meet hygiene requirements.

  • Monitor and inspect animal slaughtering places, regulate slaughterhouses, butcheries and meat sale outlets.