Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards

An Expert's View about Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in Saudi Arabia

Posted on: 16 Dec 2011

The Agricultural Trade Office of the USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia prepared this report for U.S. exporters of domestic food and agricultural products. Also, it is recommended that U.S. exporters substantiate the set of import requirements in this report with their Saudi importers before any goods are shipped. Final import approval of any product is subject to the clearance by the port of entry officials at the time of product entry.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Required Report - public distribution Date: 10/31/2011 GAIN Report Number: SA1116 Saudi Arabia Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards - Certification FAIRS Export Certificate Report Approved By: Tawhid Al-Saffy Prepared By: Hussein Mousa Report Highlights: The Agricultural Trade Office of the USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia prepared this report for U.S. exporters of domestic food and agricultural products. Also, it is recommended that U.S. exporters substantiate the set of import requirements in this report with their Saudi importers before any goods are shipped. Final import approval of any product is subject to the clearance by the port of entry officials at the time of product entry. Section I. List of All Export Certificates Required By Government (Matrix) : Product Title of Attestation Required on Purpose Requesting Certificate Certificate Ministry Livestock 1. Health Livestock are disease Animal Health Ministry of Certificate free, were given all Agriculture required vaccinations and (MOA) mee t all Saudi Arabian animal quarantine regulations 2. Pedigree To ascertain Importing C ertificate C genealogical ertify company that the exported record of the anima l meets the animal importer?s animal breed quality requirements if the animal is imported for 3. Animal breeding purpose Information on MOA Health Report status of animal Up-to-date report on health from the animal health time it left an exporting country port until it arrives at a Saudi port Poultry and 1. Health Meat is free from disease Food safety Saudi Food Livestock Certificate and fit for human and Drug Meat (imports consumption Authority of pig meat (SFDA) and produc 2. Halal Religious ts Slaughtering has taken a Conformity to re Certificate banned for place in an officially Islamic religious licensed slaughterhouse slaughtering reason) and in accordance with Islamic rituals slaughtering SFDA 3. Animal procedures Religious P rotein Free Certificate to confirm that Conformity to Feed (Producer the bovine Islamic rules on animals and Self- C poultry animal feed slaughtered were ertification) not fed with feed containing animal- protein, animal-fats or animal-manure and that the animals were not treated with growth hormones Fish and 1. Health Fish and seafood products Food safety SFDA Seafood Certificate meet all specified Saudi Arabian sanitary attestation requirements Product Title of Attestation Required on Purpose Requesting Certificate Certificate Ministry Dairy 1. Health Products contain no harmful level of Food SFDA Products Certificate contaminants and fit for human safety consumption 2. Veterinary Among other things, it attests Milk Certificate is derived from cows in which BSE ha Food SFDA s not been officially identified and bovine he safety rds were not fed with protein derived from animal ruminant 3. Cer Products detailed on the certificate tificate of Radioac contain total radiocaesium tivity SFDA Measurement concentrations within officially Food (for established level and are fit for safety imports from Europe human consumption and the former USSR countries) Egg and 1. Health Egg products have been Food SFDA Egg Certificate processed to ensure the safety Products destruction of all pathogen agents, especially Salmone lla P roducts have been processed against any contamination before and after processing Egg products have been processed in an approved e stablishment under official health supervision Based on of a national control scheme, egg products comply with the importing country of origin or international standards regarding residue of chemical contaminants, such as dioxins, pesticides, veterinary drugs etc? or any other contaminations Product Title of Attestation Required on Purpose Requesting Certificate Certificate Ministry Fruits and Phytosanitary Products are inspected and/or Food safety MOA Vegetables Certificate tested according to appropriate official procedures and are considered to be free from quarantine pests specified by importing country Processed Health Exported products were Food safety SFDA Foodstuffs Certificate processed or manufactured under conditions that comply with sanitary and health laws of the exporting country and are fit for human consumption Planting Phytosanitary Products were inspected Phytosanitary MOA Seed Certificate and/or tested according to concern appropriate official procedures and are considered to be free from quarantine pests specified by importing country Seed Seed quality MOA and An Seeds were tested in alysis importing accordance with ISTA rules Ce rti company ficate and are free from insects, epidemic, diseases and weed seeds Concern for MOA biodiversity and Official Imported seed is free from food safety Biotech Free biotech contamination Certifica te Product Title of Attestation Required on Purpose Requesting Certificate Certificate Ministry Phytosanitary Certify that the plants, part of Phytosanitary MOA Certificate plants or products or other concern Grain regulated articles described have been inspected and/or tested according to appropriate official proc edures and are considered to be free from quarantine pests specified by the importing contracting party and conform to current phytosanitary requirements of the importing country including those for regulated non-quarantine pests Gr Imported grain meets the importers ain Analysis C qua Grain quality lity specifications ertificate C Provides marks and numbers and ertificate of To expedite MOA and W other important information about eight or customs importing the shipment Packing mpany list c colearance Attests t hat the stated quantity and F type of exported grain was umiga Importing tion Grain quality C fumigated on the indicated date e company rtificate Forest International The goods stated below according Product SFDA Products Conformity to the attached invoice and quality Certification exported from (name of the Program country) have been subjected to laboratory tests and proven to be in compliance with the approved standards in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Section II. Purpose of Specific Export Certificate(s) See ?purpose? column above. The export certificate table in this report deals mainly with official documents issued for food safety and animal health concerns. Regardless of the kind of agricultural products imported, a commercial invoice, a bill of lading, a country of origin declaration, a certificate of weight and a packing list must accompany official certificates. These four documents are defined below for information purpose. Commercial Invoice A commercial invoice is a document a seller issues on company letterhead that details the business deal between the seller and a buyer. The invoice should include the name and address of both the seller and buyer, the date of the sale, a description of the goods sold, the quantity, the unit price, the terms of sale, and the total money amount due. The Saudi Customs Authority requires the commercial invoice to determine the true value of the shipment for the assessment of custom duties. Bill of lading A document issued on behalf of the carrier describing the kind and quantity of goods being shipped, the shipper, the consignee, the port of loading and discharge and the carrying vessel. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage, and a receipt for goods. Country of Origin Certificate This certificate is issued by an exporting company and should provide among other things information such as name and address of both exporting and importing companies, country of destination, name, and quantity of product(s) exported. The country of origin certificate is required by the Saudi Customs Authority to determine whether or not customs charges, waivers, or other preferential treatment applies to the imported product and to make sure products from countries banned from exporting to the Kingdom are prevented entry into the Saudi market. Saudi Arabia imposes import bans mostly for human health and phytosanitary concerns. Packing List or Certificate of Weight Seed and grain importers request either a packing list or certificate of weight as one of the required import documents. A packing list is not required for processed foodstuffs, but is highly recommended for expediting customs clearance. Both the packing list and the certificate of weight provide information related to marks and numbers and other important information about the shipment. Section III. Specific Attestations Required on Export Certificate(s) Live Horses Health Certificate An official health certificate issued by a USDA-approved competent veterinarian who is certified to carry out export certification must accompany horses exported from the United States to Saudi Arabia. A USDA veterinarian must endorse the health certificate issued. The health certificate, among other things, must confirm that the horses are free from diseases, were quarantined for 30 days prior to export, were given all required vaccinations and were pre-export tested. Detailed requirements for permanent importation of horses from the United States into Saudi Arabia are found in Appendix I. Live bovine animals, camels, sheep and goats Livestock importers (live bovine animals, camels, sheep and goats) must obtain an import permit from the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture?s Animal and Plant Quarantine Department before shipments leave the exporting country. Livestock shipments must be accompanied by country of origin and health certificates from a recognized authority in the country of origin duly authenticated by the Saudi embassy in that country. Health Certificate In the United States, a USDA authorized veterinarian issues official health certificates declaring that the exported livestock is free from diseases. This certificate shall contain among other things names and addresses of both exporting and importing companies and complete identification of the livestock to be exported. The health certificate should provide the following detailed information: 1. Confirm the following: All imported animals are epidemic free and infectious disease free General health status of the imported animal Date of the vaccinations specified by the Ministry upon application for the import license Veterinary inspection for all imported animals within 24 hours prior to shipping All other prerequisites necessary for import license applicants 2. Port of departure of shipped animals must be one of the ports inside the country of origin, directly to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with no anchorage or call to any other port, place or country which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has declared infected by epidemic diseases and therefore banned from animal imports to the kingdom. 3. A report, which content must be known to the shipper, must be submitted to indicate the following: Status of animal health throughout the journey, showing deaths and any occurrences of disease The shipped animals have not come through places or countries banned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia The shipped animals have not mixed with other infected animals 4. Veterinary inspection shall be conducted upon arrival at any Saudi port. The whole shipment shall be rejected if it is infected with any of the diseases listed in table 1. Refer to Appendix II. 5. Shipment may be quarantined upon detection of any disease mentioned in table No. 2 if the percentage of infection does not exceed 10 percent of the random sample inspected. If, however, the percentage exceeds 10 percent, the shipment will be refused entry. Refer to Appendix II. 6. The ministry may ban importation from any country or area as per the health status of that country or area according to decisions taken by the competent international organizations. Poultry and Livestock Meat Official health certificate An official agency responsible for issuing health certificates should declare that 1) the meat is derived from healthy animals slaughtered at an officially approved slaughterhouse and under the direct supervision of the responsible official government agency, 2) the animals have not been fed with feed manufactured with animal protein or fat or animal remains, 3) the feed used comply with the approved standards, and 4) the animals were not subjected to growth hormones that do not comply with the levels mentioned in the approved standards. For beef and poultry meat imported from the United States, Saudi Arabia has agreed to recognize a two-certificate approach: (1) an official FSIS export certificate issued for beef and poultry meat and (2) a producer or manufacturer self-certification to cover any additional requirements not related to food safety or animal health issues such as animal protein free feed declaration. Appendix III shows the SFDA complete meat import requirements and sample producer/manufacturer self-certification for poultry and meat exports to Saudi Arabia. Halal Slaughter Certificate This certificate indicates that slaughter has taken place in an officially licensed slaughterhouse and in accordance with Islamic Law (Shari?ah) procedures. Islamic institutions recognized by the Saudi Embassy or Consulates in the United States issue the halal slaughtering certificate. Information related to the approved Islamic institutions may be obtained from the Saudi Embassy in Washington or the nearest Saudi Consulate (New York, Houston, or Los Angeles). The concerned health authority must stamp several parts of slaughtered animals. Age of the slaughtered livestock should not exceed three years for lamb and five years for beef and only meat of male livestock is imported. Exporters should comply with prevailing Saudi rules and regulations regarding the procedure for cutting, shipping, and storing meat shipped to the Kingdom. A sample Halal certificate is shown Appendix III. Fish and Seafood Health Certificate A health certificate for fish and seafood must attest that the imported product meets the following sanitary requirements: Sea food products are for human consumption and derived from a zone/establishment free from fish contagious diseases Sea products have normal organoleptic characteristics, comply with all Saudi and/or international standards and is fit for human consumption Sea products have been processed in an approved establishment under official health supervision On basis of a national follow-up control scheme, sea products comply with importing country- of-origin or international standards regarding residues of chemical contaminants The certificate must be stamped and signed by an official inspector. Please refer to Appendix IV for a sample official health certificate Dairy Products Health Certificate Any government official responsible for dairy inspection must state that the dairy product was manufactured on government approved and registered premises and is subject to regular audits or inspections. It certifies that the product at the time of shipment contains no harmful level of contaminants including dioxins and is fit for human consumption. It also certifies that the milk and milk based product(s) have undergone a recognized pasteurization process with the aim of avoiding public health hazards arising from pathogenic organisms associated with milk and the product can be freely sold for human consumption in the exporting country. Other information included on the health certificate includes a trader reference number, generic product name, product description, approval of manufacturer/packer, manufacturer?s address, packer?s address, consignor, consignee, country of manufacture, type of packing, net weight, quantity, production codes, place of dispatch, date of dispatch, destination, and expiry date. Health certificates for dairy products must contain the following declarations: 1. The milk/dairy products described above have been processed from raw milk/powdered milk obtained from animals free from contagious diseases and fit for human consumption. 2. All dairy products have been processed and packaged in an approved establishment under official health control. 3. On basis of a national follow-up control scheme, the dairy product complies with the importing country of origin or international standards regarding residues of chemical contaminants, such as dioxin, pesticides, veterinary drugs etc., and no harmful colorants or preservative agents (according to CODEX Alimentarius) were added to these products. 4. Complies with the importing country or international standards for bacteria count. 5. In case of heat treatment: done in a way to obtain the destruction of pathogens. 6. With regard to radioactivity: contains no harmful radioactivity, or not more than the accepted level, for the milk and milk products. 7. The declaration must be signed and stamped by an official inspector. Please refer to Appendix V for a copy of an official health certificate. 8. Saudi Arabia accepts VS-16-4 certificates issued by veterinarians working for APHIS Veterinary Services (VS) for U.S. dairy product exports. Veterinary Certificate An exporting country government veterinary inspector?s declaration that the exporting country is free of foot-and-mouth disease, anthrax, rinderpest and all the other diseases on the ?Office International des Epizooties? (OIE.) list A to which the bovine species is susceptible. It addition, it must state that milk is derived from cows in which BSE has not been officially identified at the time of collection and that bovine herds are subject to official control and official brucellosis and buberculin testing. It further states that bovine herds were not fed with protein derived from animal ruminant and the exporting country is free of ezootic bovine leucosis. Certificate of Radioactivity Measurement A competent exporting country radiation protection institute certifies that the products detailed on the certificate contain total radiocaesium concentrations within officially established levels and are fit for human consumption. Other information provided on the certificate includes product description, quantity, manufacturer, consignor, order number, destination, official stamp and the signature of a competent official. Radiation and dioxin free requirements apply to dairy products imported from Europe, Japan and former Soviet Republics. Shipments from the United States are exempt from these requirements. Table Eggs and Egg Products The Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Industry requires that imported table eggs and egg products are accompanied by health and country-of-origin certificates. The official health certificate should provide the following information: 1. The egg products have been processed to ensure the destruction of all pathogen agents, especially salmonella. 2. The egg products have been processed against any recontamination before and after processing. 3. The egg products have been processed in an approved establishment under official health supervision. 4. On basis of a national follow-up control scheme, the egg products comply with the importing country- of-origin or international standards regarding residue of chemical contaminants, such as dioxins, pesticides, veterinary drugs etc., or any other contaminations. 5. No harmful colorants or preservative agents (according to Codex Alimentarius) have been added to the egg products. 6. The health certificate must be signed and stamped by a local official inspector. Please refer to Appendix VI for a copy of an official egg product health certificate. Fruits and Vegetables Phytosanitary Certificate This certificate must accompany all shipments of fresh fruit and vegetables to the Kingdom certifying that the products are inspected and/or tested according appropriate official procedures and are considered to be free from quarantine pests specified by the importing contracting party and to conform with the current phytosanitary requirements of the importing contracting party, including those for regulated non-quarantine pests. USDA?s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issue this certificate. Processed Foods Health Certificate The exporting company certifies on its letterhead that the products have been grown, processed, or manufactured under conditions that comply with the sanitary and health laws of the United States of America. It further declares that the goods are radiation free, and that their sale for human consumption in the supplier?s country has been authorized. The firm verifies that the merchandise is fit for human consumption. It is important to note that the exporting company on its letterhead issues health certificates for high value products, with the exception of dairy and meat products. Since dairy and meat products can be easily contaminated, they are tested for bacterial and other contaminants by official exporting country government inspectors. Processed foods that are not covered by Saudi Arabian or GCC countries standards must meet Codex or country of origin standards. The certificate also contains marks and numbers (shipment booking number, container size, container number, seal number, and quantities and list of exported products, production and expiration dates, destination, country of origin, names and addresses of the shipper and receiver, mode of shipment, signature of the exporter and seal of chamber of commerce or notary public). Refer to appendix VII for processed foodstuff labeling and packaging requirements. Planting Seed Phytosanitary Certificate The purpose of this certificate is to verify that the seeds exported to Saudi Arabia are free from agricultural diseases. The certificate is obtained from the USDA. The certificate certifies that the plants, part of plants or products or other regulated articles described on the certificate have been inspected and/or tested according to appropriate official procedures and are considered to be free from quarantine pests specified by Saudi Arabia. Other information on the certificate includes treatment data, names and addresses of the exporter and importer, name of the seed and quantity declared, botanical name of the seed, number and description of package, distinguishing marks, place of origin, means of shipment, declared port of entry and name, signature and seal of authorized officer. Seed Analysis Certificate This certificate is to prove the degree of purity of the seeds shipped to Saudi Arabia. It is issued by USDA?s and conforms with ISTA rules. The most important information the certificate must include is name and address of seller, kind of seed, seed class, quantity of sampled seed, importing country, results of inspection and percentage of germination, purity, impurity, moisture, etc. and confirmation that the seeds are free from insects, epidemic, diseases and weed seeds. Please refer to Appendix VIII for detailed official seeds import requirements. Certificate of Weight or Packing List This certificate should be issued by the exporting company indicating the name and address of the Saudi importer, invoice number, the name of the shipping vessel, port of loading, port of discharge, number/unit of bags, name of commodity, lot number, and weight of shipment. Official Biotech Free Certificate The Saudi Ministry of Agriculture banned biotech seed imports in 2003 and requires that an official certificate accompany each planting seed shipment to declare the imported seed is free from ?biotech contamination.? For imports of planting seeds from the United States, Saudi Arabia allows exporters to self-certify the status of the seed, i.e., conventional or non-biotech, and grant import licenses for conventional planting seeds. Grain and Feed Phytosanitary Certificate The purpose of this certificate is to verify that the grains exported are free from quarantine pests. This certificate is required to accompany all shipments of grain, grain flour and animal feed. The Kingdom requires that the certificate be issued by a responsible government agency such as USDA?s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA). The certificate is issued on the letterhead of an official government agency responsible for inspecting exported grains. The certificate contains at least a description of consignment, names and addresses of exporter and importer, declared means of transport, place of origin, place of entry, name of product, number and description of packages and distinguishing marks, botanical name, declared quantity, and the following declaration: This is to certify that the plants, part of plants or products or other regulated articles described herein have been inspected and/or tested according to appropriate official procedures and are considered to be free quarantine pests specified by the importing contracting party and to conform with current phytosanitary requirements of the importing contracting party including those for regulated non- quarantine pests. Other information provided on the certificate includes additional declaration if any, disinfestations or disinfections treatment, chemical active ingredient, concentration, duration and temperature, date, seal and signature of issuing official. Analysis or Quality Certificate This certificate is to verify that the imported grain meets the importers? quality specifications. An importing company hires a grain inspector in the country of origin to carry out loading supervision and sampling submission to laboratory for quality ascertainment. The certificate shows type and quantity of exported grain, name of vessel, shipper, port of loading, port of discharge, consignee, notification address, documentary credit number, sampling method, analysis result. The results show contents of moisture, foreign matters, damaged kernels, broken kernels, weevils kernels, grade of the grain, and aflatoxin level. Other information included on the certificate is stowage and the date loading is completed. A quality certificate is issued on the grain inspector?s letterhead. Certificate of Weight This certificate is issued by a grain inspector hired by the Saudi company or grain supplier indicating the grain type and quantity, name of shipping vessel, port of loading, port of discharge, name and address of the Saudi importer, weight ascertainment method, total ascertained weight, stowage information and the date loading was completed. Fumigation Certificate A hired grain fumigation company issues this certificate. The certificate attests that the mentioned quantity and type of exported grain were fumigated on the indicated date. It also provides other pertinent information such as loading port, port of discharge, bill of lading date, documentary credit number, vessel name, holds fumigated, fumigant used, dosage, exposition time, shipper name, consignee name, notify address, date the certificate of issued, signature and seal of the issuing company. Forest Products International Conformity Certification Program In 1995, the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry established a program to regulate and monitor selected categories of products such as forest products exported to Saudi Arabia. The program is known as the International Conformity Certification Program (ICCP) and requires imported product to be in compliance with established SASO or internationally approved equivalents. Below is a guideline for the ICCP. 1. Special laboratories will be used as an alternative mechanism for certifying the conformity of imported goods to established standards, after the special laboratories have been approved for examination purposes. 2. The conformity certificate should be issued by authorized special laboratories at the country of origin. Such conformity certificates should accompany all the consignments of imported goods (forest products) certifying their conformity to the established standard (technical regulations). The certificate should confirm that these goods were subjected to a regular laboratory examination under supervision of the competent control agency in the country of origin. The entity should be fully responsible for the contents of this certificate. The producing company should assume full responsibility for all damages happening as a result of using such goods. Random samples may be taken from the imported consignments on their arrival to the Kingdom?s ports in order to ascertain the veracity of the certificate. Please refer to Appendix IX for ICCP standard form. Section IV. Government Certificate?s Legal Entry Requirements The required certificates must accompany all imported agricultural products at the time of entry, and the certificates are valid until the products are cleared through Saudi Customs. One export document is valid only for one shipment and cannot be used for clearing multiple shipments. The Saudi government accepts only manufacturers or exporters export declaration as certifications for country of origin, health certificate (for most processed foodstuffs) and commercial invoice declarations. On the other hand, official certificates issued by U.S. states are accepted as long as the certifying departments are competent and authorized by federal counterparts to issue export certificates. The Saudi government has no intention, at least at this time, to derogate export certificates. As such, Saudi Customs does not allow clearances of agricultural products if all required certificates do not accompany them. Section V. Other Certification/Accreditation Requirements Depending on the nature of exported goods to Saudi Arabia, or according to a request from the Saudi importer, some additional certifications may be required. Some of the additional documentations that may be required are discussed below: Food Manufacturer's Ingredients Certificate The food manufacturer's ingredients certificate is usually required when the labeling information on the packaged product is incomplete or does not provide adequate information about the imported product. The certificate, if requested, should include description of exported food products (contents and percentage of each ingredient), chemical data, microbiological standards, storage, and life of product (date of manufacturing and date of expiration). When products contain any animal fats, the certificate must confirm the kind of animal from which it is taken or state that no pork meat or its artificial flavor nor its animal fat is being used. Certificate of Free Sale Saudi importers may sometime request a certificate of free sale for certain agricultural products. The certificate mainly states that a product is known to be sold freely in the supplying country and regulated by a governing body responsible for that particular product. Consumer Protection Certificate This certificate must confirm the healthiness of the various ingredients used in the exported food products as well as declare their safety and fitness for human consumption. This certificate must be obtained from a responsible government agency such as USDA or one of its local offices, and it must be signed. Certification Required for Products not listed on the Export Certificate Table For agricultural products not listed in the above table, the Kingdom has not yet issued import requirements or the requirements are not available for distribution by the concerned Saudi government agency when this report was written. For products where national standards are not established, the Kingdom accepts country of origin or international requirements. U.S. exporters wishing to export agricultural products for which the Kingdom has not yet issued import standards, should request the potential Saudi importer to approach the concerned ministry and obtain specific import requirements. Quality and Labeling Regulations All food products, whether imported for commercial purposes, display, or for sampling, must be fit for human consumption and should meet established shelf life requirements. The product(s) must have a label or sticker showing the statutory information such as product name, country of origin, producer's name and address, production and expiry dates, in Arabic and English languages (samples imported must be labeled at least in English). It is vital that American exporters adhere to Saudi Arabian quality standards and labeling regulations to avoid rejection of products at a Saudi port of entry. The method for writing production and expiry dates is to put the day of the month first, followed by month and year. Use of the system commonly followed in the United States, where the month is shown first, is not acceptable in Saudi Arabia. Products that do not meet established Saudi standards are either re-exported to the country of origin or destroyed at the importer?s expense. In December 2005, Saudi Arabia implemented a voluntary shelf life standard (manufacturer-determined use-by dates) for most foodstuffs with the exception of selected perishable foods (fresh or chilled meat and poultry; fresh milk and fresh milk based products; margarine; fresh fruit juice; table eggs, and baby foods) that must meet SASO?s established mandatory expiration periods. The revised standard (SASO 457/2005) will no longer ban imports of food products with less than half of its shelf life remaining. Shelf life can only be shown by clear and unambiguous production and expiration dates. The use of any of the following statements for expressing expiration date is permissible. Expiration Date Use by (date) Fit for (from the day of production) Use Before (date) Sell by date (for food products having an expiration period exceeding 3 months). The production and expiration dates should be declared on the label of the package in uncoded manner as follows: Day-Month-Year: for foodstuffs with an expiration period less than three months. Month-Year: for foodstuffs with expiration exceeding three months. Dates shall be engraved or printed or stamped with permanent ink directly on all packages or on their original label by the producer only. Adding stickers for production and expiration dates in not permissible. There shall be not more than one date of production or of expiration on the same package. Both dates shall not be subject to deletion, change or deceit. Products with No Specific Expiration Date: Products with no specified shelf life such as salt, spices, milled rice, etc. only the date of production or processing would be shown as: mm/yy. We recommend that when putting together an order for a Saudi importer, a U.S. exporter cross check information contained on his/her food label, including Production/Expiration dates, with the Saudi buyer. SFDA Started Rigorous Enforcement of Saudi and Gulf Foodstuff Regulations SFDA has recently commenced rigorously implementing officially Saudi and Gulf foodstuff regulations. For example In February 2011, SFDA started enforcing a SASO standard for grape leaves (SASO 1909/2001) that limit stem length of grape leaves at 0.5 cm. Even though, the standard was issued in 2001, it has never been strictly applied until February 2011. This SFDA?s strict implementation of SASO 1909/2001 has resulted in the rejection of several shipments of U.S. grape leaves that SFDA laboratories tests identified as containing stem length more than the allowed 0.5 cm. On June 9, 2010, SFDA informed Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce & Industry that it will fully implement on December 9, 2010 section 7/2 of Gulf Standards Organization (GSO) No.9/2007 titled ?Labeling of Prepackaged Food Stuffs?. The most important requirement in the SFDA circular No. E/991 is the decision to accept only Arabic language stickers affixed by manufacturers (section 7/2/2/1 of GSO 9/2007) on labels of exported prepackaged food products. In the past, Saudi Arabia has allowed food products exporting houses or consolidators to place Arabic language stickers on labels of prepackaged food products at their warehouses. SFDA granted a six month grace period that ends on December 9, 2010 for domestic foodstuff importers to fully implement the new requirement. SFDA has informed its food inspection laboratories at Saudi ports of entry to reject any prepackaged food products shipment that does not comply with the new Arabic language stickers requirement. Section 7/2 states the following: 7/2: Language: 7/2/1: Labeling and adjoining explanatory statements shall be in Arabic and, where another language is used, it shall be alongside the Arabic. All the information provided in another language shall be identical with those written in Arabic. 7/2/2: If the Arabic information is stated in a supplementary sticker adjacent to the original label , the following shall be met: 7/2/2/1: It shall be a single sticker provided by the manufacture only to fulfill all the relevant stipulations provided in this standard. 7/2/2/2: It shall not obscure any information required by this standard. 7/2/2/3: It shall not contain any statement discrepant with the original labeling. 7/2/2/4: It shall be irremovable in the ordinary handling and circulation conditions of the prepackaged foodstuff. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) marking or bearing removable COOL marking: A. A. An electronic undertaking shall be recorded against its owner for each office or at his warehouses, provided that such if the consi whatever the exemption document. collecti origin he shall be allowed to Second: , the importer shall not be allowe which are still existing inside the custom customs area or at his warehouses, provided that the correcti concerning the necessity that the impor requirement cannot be applied due to their tiny size or nature. In such case words that on which final decisions are issued b collecting the prescribed fine. It is not allowed to correct the i - Fifth: - manual un Sixth: Operate effectively the following sections: Control and Investigation ?Ra Seventh: All customs ports shall audit imports of importers who have underta Eighth: these Ninth: once every three months as of the date of putting these measures in effect A Two-Stage Document Notarization Procedure First Notarization Stage Depending on the types of certificate required for a particular agricultural product, the following documents must be signed by an authorized person or agent and authenticated either by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, any U.S. - Arab Chamber of Commerce, the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council, or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce located in the city or area where the exporting firm is based. Some American exporters use a local U.S. notary public service to meet this first stage authentication requirement. Phytosanitary Certificate (for animal, plant, seed and grains) Country of Origin Certificate Halal Certificate for meat and cheese products if the rennet used in the cheese is of animal origin. Radiation Free Certificate (for foodstuffs imported from former USSR countries Japan and Europe.) Dioxin Free Certificate (for foodstuffs imported from Europe (usually dioxin free statement is included in the health certificate). Quality Analysis Certificate for Grains Seed Analysis Certificate Official Biotech Positive Certificate Fumigation Certificate Veterinary Certificate Other required export documents, including a bill of lading, a packing list and weight certificate do not need notarization. On March 29, 2006, the Saudi Arabian Customs Authority issued a memorandum to drop a requirement that a Saudi embassy or consulate notarize commercial invoices and country of origin certificates issued by exporting companies to clear shipments on arrival at Saudi ports. Saudi Customs is now accepting the original commercial invoice and a country of origin certificate attested by a local chamber of commerce located in a city or area where the foodstuff are purchased and shipped. Health certificates are still attested by the Saudi Embassy or nearest Saudi Consulate. Second Notarization Stage After the first attestation, documents should be forwarded to a Saudi Consulate or the Saudi Embassy in the U.S. for a final attestation. Refer to Appendix X for coordinates of Saudi Consulates and the National Arab Chamber of Commerce offices. Certification Fees Certification fees vary depending on the certifying organization. For example, the National U.S. Arab Chamber of Commerce charges $25.00 per page, while the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council and Saudi consulates, respectively, charge $15 and $8 per page to certify commercial documents. Fees are paid by company checks or money orders Import of Samples Samples destined to potential Saudi buyers or for display in food shows are exempt from Saudi labeling and shelf life regulations but are subject to inspection at ports of entry. Samples, usually sent to Saudi Arabia by DHL and similar carriers, require a commercial invoice specifying that the product is not for sale and has no commercial value. The invoice will provide information such as consignee's name and address, details of product (s) and country of origin of the product. A packing list also is useful if samples of many different products are shipped. The documents do not require legalization by the Saudi mission (an exporting company stamp and signature are sufficient.) It is advisable to show on the invoice a nominal value of $5 -$10 for Customs purposes and state that the goods are "Not For Sale ? No Commercial Value?. For clearance of a commercial sea or airfreight cargo exceeding $500, a full set of documentation is required. For courier samples which do not require special certifications such as Halal, an invoice and country of origin certificate will be sufficient, provided the value a sample is not more than $10,000. Standard Commercial Terms of Payment Saudi importers use one or more of the following types of payment when importing goods from U.S. or other foreign suppliers: 1. Letter of Credit (LOC): A letter from a bank guaranteeing that a buyer's payment to a seller will be received on time and for the correct amount. Depending on the trust level between Saudi importers and foreign suppliers, one of the following types of LOCs are used as payments for imported products: A. Irrevocable Letter Of Credit (ILOC): A letter of credit that cannot be canceled. This guarantees that a buyer's payment to a seller will be received on time and for the correct amount. B. Sight Letter of Credit (SLC): A letter of credit that is payable as soon as the required documents have been presented. C. Deferred Payment Letter of Credit -- A letter of credit that allows the buyer to take possession of goods by agreeing to pay the issuing bank or the confirming bank at a fixed future date, for example up to 90 days after shipment.) This kind of payment is used where a buyer and a seller have a close working relationship because, in effect, the seller (beneficiary of the L/C) is financing the purchase by allowing the buyer a grace period for payment. 2. Cash against Document (CAD): A payment term which states that a buyer must pay in cash before he gets shipping papers in order to get possession of the imported goods. The transaction involves a third party, usually an importer?s bank, to keep shipping papers until it receives a full payment from the buyer. The problem with this type of payment is that if the importer changes his mind and does not want the goods, the exporter has to re-take possession of the goods and pay for the shipping and other costs. To use this type of payment, the U.S. exporter must have developed a close working relationship with his Saudi buyer. 3. Cash in Advance: In this case, the importer pays for his goods in advance before the exporter ships the goods to the importer. This kind of payment is the most advantageous to an exporting company. As a final point, Post recommends that new-to-market American firms request an irrevocable letter of credit until a close working relationship is developed. Appendix I. Electronic Copy or Outline of Each Export Certificate This section (appendixes I to IX) provides copies of Saudi Arabian import requirements for livestock, poultry and meat, fish and seafood, dairy products, eggs and egg products, planting seeds, and forest products. Appendix I. Conditions for Importation of Horses from the U.S. Conditions for the permanent importation of horses into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia from the United States of America: 1. Permission to import must be obtained from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Ministry of Agriculture, Quarantine Department before shipment leaves the exporting country. 2. In order to obtain an import permit, a fully completed import permit application form must be submitted to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Agriculture. At the ministry?s discretion, copies of test results and proof of vaccinations may also be requested. 3. Pre- export isolation: during the 30 days immediately prior to export the horses must be held in an isolation facility approved by USDA. 4. Pre- export Tests: The horse must be subjected to the following blood tests with negative results: I. Coggins test for equine infectious anemia ? see paragraph III (j) of the attached model health certificate for details. II. The Serum Neutralization Test for Equine Viral Arteritis with negative result at a dilution of 1 in 4. (This test is required for uncastrated male horses only.) See paragraph III (e)(v) of the attached model health certificate for details. III. Vesicular Stomatitis ? where appropriate ? see paragraph III (i) of the attached Model Health Certificate for options. IV. Western and Eastern Encephalomyelitis ? where appropriate ? see attached Model Health Certificate for options. The above tests are to carried out in a laboratory approved for that purpose by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 5. Vaccinations: I. All horses must be fully vaccinated against Equine Influenza ? see paragraph III (m) of the attached Model Health Certificate for details. Note: original certification showing proof of primary and all booster vaccinations, given in accordance with manufacturer?s recommendations, must travel with the horse. II. Other vaccinations may also be necessary - see Model Health Certificate for details. 6. West Nile Fever ? Horses which are resident in States/provinces where the West Nile Virus has been found require additional certification, see paragraph III (o). 7. Health Certificate When horses are sent to KSA an official Health Certificate issued by a veterinarian approved by the USDA to carry out export certification and endorsed by a Federal Veterinarian must accompany them. The certificate should be in similar form to, and contain all the information in the certificate attached at Annex A. to these conditions. Please read the certificate carefully to ensure that all parts are fully complied with. Dates must be inserted and deletions made where appropriate. 8. On arrival in the KSA the horse will be subjected to a minimum of 6 days isolation in an officially approved Isolation Center and will be subjected to further tests at the discretion of the Ministry of Agriculture. Should the horse fail any of the tests, or fail to comply with the conditions of import, including failure to provide proper certification it may be required to be re-exported at the owners? expense or destroyed. All horses must arrive by air at one of the approved international airports (Riyadh or Jeddah) unless special authority is granted for landing elsewhere. Sample Copy of Import Certificate for Horses For the permanent import of horses into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from the United States of America: No. of Certificate????????? Third Country of dispatch: (1) ?????????????????????????????? Ministry Responsible: ????????????????????????????????? I. Identification of the animal Species: Horse Breed Age Sex/Color Method of identification and identification (*) (*) A passport identifying the equine animal should be attached to this certificate provided that its number is stated. (a) No. of identification document (Passport): ??????????????????????. (b) Validated by: ?????????????????????????????????.. (Name of competent authority) II. Origin and destination of the animal The animal is to be sent from: ????????????????????????????.. (Place of export) Directly to: ???????????????????????????????????? (Place of destination) By aircraft: (3) ??????????????????????????????????. (indicate means of transport & registration marks, flight number or registered name, as appropriate) Name and address of Consignor: ???????????????????????????. ????????????????????????????????????????.. Name and address of Consignee: ??????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????????????????.. III. Health Information I, the undersigned, certify that the animal described above meets the following requirements: (a) It comes from a country where the following diseases are compulsorily notifiable: African Horse Sickness, Dourine, Glanders, Equine Encephalomyelitis (of all types including VEE), Equine Infectious Anemia, Vesicular Stomatitis, Rabies, and Anthrax. (b) It has been examined today and shows no clinical sign of diseases; (2) (c) It is not intended for slaughter under a national program of infectious or contagious disease eradication; (d) During the three months immediately preceding the exportation (or since birth if the animal is less than three months old or since entry if it was imported directly from the European Community during the previous three months) it has been resident on holdings under veterinary supervision in the United States of America and 30 days prior to dispatch apart from equidae not of equivalent health status, in USDA approved isolation premises. (e) It comes from the territory or in cases of official regionalization according to Community legislation from a part of the territory of a third country in which: I) Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis has not occurred during the last two years; II) Dourine has not occurred during the last six months; III) Glanders has not occurred during the last six months; IV) either Vesicular Stomatitis has not occurred during the last six months (3) or the animal was tested on a sample of blood taken within 21 days of export on ??????(4) by a virus neutralization test for Vesicular Stomatitis with negative results at a dilution of 1 in 12 (3); v) in the case of an uncastrated male animal older than 180 days, either Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) has not been officially recorded during the last six months (3), or the animal was tested on a sample of blood taken within 21 days of export on ??????.(4) by a virus neutralization test for EVA, with negative result at a dilution of 1 in 4 (3), or an aliquot of its entire semen taken within 21 days of export on ????(4) was tested by a virus isolation test for EVA with negative result (3), or the animal was vaccinated on ?????.(4) against Equine Viral Arteritis under official veterinary supervision with a vaccine approved by the competent authority, according to the following program for initial vaccination and has been re-vaccinated at regular intervals (3). Programs for initial vaccination against Equine Viral Arteritis: Instruction: Cross out vaccination programs that do not apply to the animal described above. Verify supporting certification on testing before vaccination, and re- vaccination. a) Vaccination was carried out on the day a blood sample was taken that subsequently proved negative in a virus neutralization test at a dilution of 1:4. or b) Vaccination was carried out during a period of isolation of not more than 15 days under official veterinary supervision, commencing on the day a blood sample was taken that was tested during that time with negative result in a virus neutralization test at a dilution of 1:4. or c) Vaccination was carried out when the animal was at an age of 180 to 270 days, during a period of isolation under official veterinary supervision. During the isolation period two blood samples taken at least 10 days apart proved a stable or declining antibody titer in a virus neutralization test for equine viral arteritis. (f) It does not come from the territory or from a part of the territory of a third country considered, in accordance with EEC legislation, as infected with African horse sickness, and either it was not vaccinated against African horse sickness (3) or it was vaccinated against African horse sickness on ?????????.(3)(4). (g) It does not come from a holding, which was subject to prohibition for animal health reasons, nor had contact with equidae from a holding, which was subject to prohibition for animal health reasons: I) during six months in the case of equine encephalomyelitis, beginning on the date on which the equidae suffering from the disease are slaughtered; II) in the case of equine infectious anemia, until the date on which the infected animals having been slaughtered, the remaining animals have shown a negative reaction to two Coggins tests carried out three months apart; III) during six months in the case of vesicular stomatitis; IV) during one month from the last recorded case, in the case of rabies; V) during 15 days from the last recorded case, in the case of Anthrax or if all animals of species susceptible to the disease located on the holding have been slaughtered and the premises disinfected, the period of prohibition shall be 30 days, beginning on the day on which the animals were destroyed and the premises disinfected, except in the case of anthrax, where the period of prohibition is 15 days. (h) It shows no clinical signs of contagious equine metritis (CEM) and it does not come from a holding where there has been any suspicion of CEM during the past two months nor had contact indirectly or directly through coitus with equidae infected or suspected of being infected with CEM; (i) To the best of my knowledge, it has not been in contact with equidae suffering from an infectious or contagious disease in the 15 days prior to this declaration; (j) It was subjected to the following test carried out with negative results on a sample of blood taken within 21 days of export on ????????..(4) - a Coggins test for equine infectious anemia; (k) Either it was not vaccinated against Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis, (3) or it was vaccinated on ?????????(4) this being at least six months prior to pre-export isolation;(3) (l) Either it was vaccinated against western and eastern equine encephalomyelitis with inactivated vaccine on ????..(3)(4) this being within six months of and at least 30 days prior to export or it was subjected to haemagglutination inhibition tests to western and eastern equine encephalomyelitis on two occasions, carried out on samples of blood taken with an interval of 21 days on ??????.(4) and on ?????.(4), the second of which must have been taken within 10 days of export, either with negative reactions, if it has not been vaccinated, or with no increase in antibody count, if it has been vaccinated more than six months ago.(3) (m) During the 60 days immediately prior to export, but not within 14 days of export, the horse received: Either (i) two primary vaccinations against equine influenza, in accordance with the manufacturer?s recommendations(3)(5). Dates of vaccination 1?????.. 2?????? Type(s) of vaccine ???????. Batch No(s) ??????????? or (ii) it received a booster dose to a certified previous course of primary vaccination(5). Date of booster vaccination ????????? Type(s) of vaccine ???????. Batch No(s) ?????????. (n) The horse has not been, during the last 30 days, in any state in which vesicular stomatitis (VS) has been diagnosed in the previous 6 months; has not been in contact with livestock that has been, during the last 30 days, in any state in which VS has been diagnosed in the last 6 months; has not been in contact with livestock that has been resident on infected holdings in the last 60 days. (o) During the 30 days immediately prior to export: either i) It has not been resident in any State/province in which evidence of West Nile virus has been found in the previous 6 months, OR ii. a) It has not been resident on any premises where clinical cases of West Nile fever have been identified during this time AND b) It has been treated with an insect repellant, effective against WNV vectors, in accordance with the manufacturer?s instructions, during any period, in the 15 days immediately prior to export, that the horse was in a State/province in which evidence of West Nile virus has been found in the previous 6 months. Name of product ???????????? active ingredient(s)????..????.. iii. It was not vaccinated against West Nile virus, or it was vaccinated against West Nile virus with an inactivated vaccine on at least two occasions at an interval of between 21 to 42 days, the last vaccination being carried out not later than 30 days prior to dispatch on ???? iv. The animal will be sent in a vehicle cleaned and disinfected in advance, with a disinfectant officially recognized in the country of dispatch, and designed in a way that droppings, litter or fodder cannot escape during transportation. The following declaration signed by the owner or representative is part of the certificate. V. The certificate is valid for 10 days. Date Place Stamp (*) and signature of the official veterinarian (Name in block letters, qualification and title) (*) The color of the stamp must be different to that of the printing. (1) Part of territory in accordance with Article 12 (2) of Council Directive 90/426/EEC. (2) This certificate must be issued on the day of loading of the animal for dispatch to the Member State of destination or, in the case of a registered horse, on the last working day before embarkation. (3) Delete as appropriate. (4) Insert Date ? In the case of a registered equine animal, tests carried out, their results and vaccination have to be entered in the identification document (passport) Declaration I, the undersigned ?????????????????????(insert name in block capitals) (owner or representative of the animal described above) Declare: 1. The horse will be sent from the premises of dispatch to the premises of destination without coming into contact with other equine not of the same health status. The transportation will be effected in such a way that health and well being of the animal can be protected effectively. 2. The animal has either remained in ????????????.(exporting country) since birth or entered the exporting country at least 90 days prior to this declaration. ????????????????. ??????????????????? (Place, date) (Signature) Appendix II. List of Livestock Diseases Table: 1 Imported animals infected with the following diseases will be rejected right away without permission to unload at quarantine area: 1. Foot and mouth disease 2. Vesicular Stomatitis 3. Rinderpest 4. Pests des petits ruminants 5. Lump skin disease 6. Rift valley fever 7. Bluetongue 8. Sheep pox 9. Goat pox 10. Rabies 11. Aujeszky?s disease 12. Louping ? ill 13. Akabane disease 14. Camel pox 15. Malignant catarrhal fever 16. Ephemeral fever 17. Caprine arthritis/encephalitis 18. Maedi-visna 19. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy 20. Scrapie 21. Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia 22. Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia 23. Anthrax 24. Brucellosis 25. Tuberculosis 26. Leptospirosis 27. Paratuberculosis 28. Enzootic bovine leucosis 29. Pasteurellosis 30. Contagious agalactia 31. Enzootic abortion of ewes 32. Listeriosis 33. Heartwater 34. New world screwworm 35. Old world screwworm Table: 2 Animals infected with the following diseases can be kept in quarantine areas provided the infestation rate does not exceed 10 percent of random samples tested: 1. Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis 2. Bovine viral diarrhea 3. Contagious pustular dermatitis (Scabby mouth) 4. Ulcerative dermatosis 5. Bovine ulcerative mammillitis 6. Papillomatosis 7. Cow pox 8. Pseudo cowpox 9. Newborn viral enteritis (Rota virus & Corona virus infection) 10. Ovine pulmonary adenomatosis 11. Dermatophilosis 12. Bovine genital campylobacteriosis 13. Caseous lymphadenititis 14. Ovine epididymitis (Brucella ovis) for slaughter animals only 15. Colibacillosis 16. Salmonellosis 17. Actinomycosis 18. Actinobacillosis 19. Calf diphtheria 20. Bovine anaplasmosis 21. Oestrus ovis infestation 22. Oestrus cameli infestation 23. Hypoderma bovis 24. Gastro-intestinal parasitism (Helminthes) 25. Verminous bronchitis (lungworm infestation) 26. Mange 27. Tick infestation 28. Coccidiosis 29. Cryptosporidiosis 30. Echinococcosis\hydatidosis 31. Babesiosis 32. Cysticercosis 33. Theileriosis 34. Trypanosomiasis 35. Filariasis 36. Ringworm Other certifications that may be required for livestock imported for breeding purposes include certificate of weight to show the average weight of the exported livestock, production records and officially certified pedigree certificate. Appendix III: Official Meat Imports Requirements We (name the body issuing the certificate) testify that the meat is derived from animals slaughtered in an approved and recognized slaughterhouse under the supervision of (name of the official body) and we also testify that: 1. The meat is derived from animals with an average age of (?) and had been tested within the range of 12 hours before and after slaughtering by the official bodies concerned to ensure their safety and fitness for human consumption. 2. The meat is derived
Posted: 16 December 2011

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