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
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: SA1116
Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards -
FAIRS Export Certificate Report
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
2. Pedigree To ascertain Importing
C ertificate C genealogical ertify company that the exported
record of the
anima l meets the
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
time it left an
port until it
arrives at a Saudi
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
religious licensed slaughterhouse
reason) and in accordance with
Islamic rituals slaughtering
3. Animal procedures Religious
P rotein Free Certificate to confirm that Conformity to
the bovine Islamic rules on animals and
not fed with feed
protein, animal-fats or
animal-manure and that
the animals were not
treated with growth
Fish and 1. Health Fish and seafood products Food safety SFDA
Seafood Certificate meet all specified Saudi
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
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
3. Cer Products detailed on the certificate tificate of
Radioac contain total radiocaesium tivity SFDA
Measurement concentrations within officially Food
level and are fit for safety
Europe human consumption and the
Egg and 1. Health Egg products have been Food SFDA
Egg Certificate processed to ensure the safety
Products destruction of all pathogen
roducts have been
processed against any
contamination before and
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
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
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
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
Official Imported seed is free from food safety
Biotech Free biotech contamination
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
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 Provides marks and numbers and ertificate of To expedite MOA and
W other important information about eight or customs importing
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
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.
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)
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.
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
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
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
A health certificate for fish and seafood must attest that the imported product meets the following
Sea food products are for human consumption and derived from a zone/establishment free from fish
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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-
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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:
7/2/1: 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
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.
he shall be
, the importer shall
not be allowe
which are still existing inside the
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
which final decisions are issued b
collecting the prescribed fine. It is not allowed to correct the i
Sixth: Operate effectively the following sections: Control and Investigation ?Ra
Seventh: All customs ports shall audit imports of importers who have underta
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
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
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
Other required export documents, including a bill of lading, a packing list and weight certificate do not
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 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
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
The above tests are to carried out in a laboratory approved for that purpose by United States Department
of Agriculture (USDA).
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
No. of Certificate?????????
Third Country of dispatch: (1)
I. Identification of the animal
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
(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),
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:
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.
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.
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
(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
(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
(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
Either (i) two primary vaccinations against equine influenza, in accordance with the
Dates of vaccination 1?????.. 2??????
Type(s) of vaccine ???????. Batch No(s) ???????????
(ii) it received a booster dose to a certified previous course of primary
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:
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,
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)
I, the undersigned ?????????????????????(insert name in block capitals)
(owner or representative of the animal described above)
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
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
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
4. Pests des petits ruminants
5. Lump skin disease
6. Rift valley fever
8. Sheep pox
9. Goat pox
11. Aujeszky?s disease
12. Louping ? ill
13. Akabane disease
14. Camel pox
15. Malignant catarrhal fever
16. Ephemeral fever
17. Caprine arthritis/encephalitis
19. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy
21. Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia
22. Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia
28. Enzootic bovine leucosis
30. Contagious agalactia
31. Enzootic abortion of ewes
34. New world screwworm
35. Old world screwworm
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
7. Cow pox
8. Pseudo cowpox
9. Newborn viral enteritis (Rota virus & Corona virus infection)
10. Ovine pulmonary adenomatosis
12. Bovine genital campylobacteriosis
13. Caseous lymphadenititis
14. Ovine epididymitis (Brucella ovis) for slaughter animals only
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)
27. Tick infestation
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