SFDA to boost competition between Saudi restaurants and cafes to provide healthy meals

Authority explained that the meal provided, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, must contain a specific amount of calories, salt, sugar and fats of all kinds

  
A worker wears a protective suit, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sterilizes the tables before the customers sit down after a restaurant reopened, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia June 13, 2020.

A worker wears a protective suit, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sterilizes the tables before the customers sit down after a restaurant reopened, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia June 13, 2020.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

RIYADH — The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MMRA) to raise the public health of community members by promoting and enhancing competition between food outlets such as restaurants, cafes and electronic meal ordering platforms to create a healthier food menu, with the aim of improving the nutritional value of meals provided to the consumer by such eateries, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said recently.

With this step, the SFDA aims to encourage food establishments to provide healthier meals in which the distribution of the basic nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) is in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) standards for healthy diets, so that the consumer is guaranteed less calories based on a healthy balanced diet.

The SFDA referred to the observed change in the nutritional pattern of community members in recent years, specifically the habits of eating high-calorie diets that are poor in nutrients.

The initiative will put an end to the incorrect marketing of meals that are presented to the consumer as healthy without relying on any scientific and nutritional bases.

The authority explained that the meal provided, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, must contain a specific amount of calories, salt, sugar and fats of all kinds, in addition to the importance of reducing the size of the meals provided (portion size).

Within this context, the authority, in cooperation with the MMRA, launched the initiative "My Meal is My Slimness" (Wajbati rashaqati), which food establishments can join in by communicating via the e-mail: (Healthy.Food@sfda.gov.sa) until Dec. 31, 2020, provided the requests are reviewed and made sure that they comply with all the terms of the initiative. Then the establishment is notified of that.

The application must include the name and commercial name of the food establishment, the list of meals that will join the initiative under the name of "Wajbati rashaqati”, the calorie content, nutritional data and the ingredients of the allergens for each meal presented on the menu.

The SFDA will publish a quarterly list on the authority’s official websites that includes the names of the food establishments that have joined the initiative. The authority has the right to cancel any food establishment joining the initiative at any time, if it violates any of the requirements for achieving the initiative mentioned in item.

It can cancel joining any electronic application platform for the initiative at any time, in the event that it violates any of the requirements for achieving the initiative mentioned in clause.

This initiative will contribute to the food establishments’ commitment to the food and nutritional legislations issued by the SFDA, and activate the role of community control over food establishments by issuing a quality consumer awareness guidelines card “My Meal My Slimness Card” that includes a mechanism to verify if the meals are within the standards and criteria for healthy food systems.

The initiative will put an end to the incorrect marketing of meals that are presented to the consumer as healthy without relying on any scientific and nutritional bases.

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