The World Health Organisation has honoured the Saudi Food and Drug Authority by awarding a certificate for ensuring that food in the Kingdom is free from industrially produced trans fatty acids.
Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, and Thailand were acknowledged by the UN Health Agency for implementing exemplary policies to eliminate ITFA.
During the award ceremony, SFDA CEO Dr. Hisham bin Saad Aljadhey thanked WHO for its efforts to promote public health and its initiatives aimed at reducing the prevalence of chronic diseases.
He highlighted the Health Sector Transformation Programme, which is part of Saudi Vision 2030 and aims to increase the average lifespan of people in the Kingdom and ensure a healthy life for all.
In 2017, the SFDA developed a comprehensive strategy for healthy food and nutrition, focusing on improving the nutritional patterns of society and enhancing the nutritional value of food products.
The strategy included the implementation of policies to reduce the salt, sugar, and fat content of food products. Additionally, food establishments were required to disclose calorie information to consumers.
Since January 2020, the SFDA has successfully banned partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fats, from the country’s food supply.
Aljadhey said the Kingdom has been keen on implementing a comprehensive system of policies and initiatives aimed at improving dietary patterns and encouraging consumers to choose healthier food products.
He added that the SFDA has taken mandatory and advisory steps to limit the consumption of trans fats since 2015, setting an upper limit for trans fats in oils and fat products not exceeding 2 percent, culminating in the prohibition of partially hydrogenated oils in 2020.
Due to the Kingdom’s implementation of regulations to eliminate artificial trans fats, it has been appointed as president of the International Advisory Team for the Elimination of Artificial Trans Fats.