Overview

On January 19, 2020, the SFDA and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of food safety standards and information exchange. The MoU signalled deep intent and yet another step in further strengthening food safety in the Kingdom towards the objective of providing a healthy environment for citizens, residents and tourists. Broadly speaking, the significant strides being taken by the Saudi Government to promote food safety is a deep source of encouragement for conducting the 10th anniversary edition of Food Chain in the Kingdom.

Food Chain is based on the premise that the downstream aspects of the food cold chain, along with the upstream and midstream, consisting of pre-cooling facilities, distribution hubs, cold storage warehouses and the ubiquitous transport refrigeration services, could be strengthened through structured and well-defined FSQA (food safety and quality assurance) programmes, better specialised refrigeration consultancy and contracting practices and also through enhancing the regulation and enforcement frameworks.

Food Chain brings together:

  • Sectoral end-users (hospitality, healthcare, education, oil & gas, aviation, etc.)
  • Food manufacturers, food processors
  • Large-, medium- and small-sized farms
  • Food establishments (wholesalers, hypermarkets, supermarkets, etc.)
  • 3PL cold storage warehousing companies
  • Dedicated warehouses (large, medium and small)
  • Transport refrigeration (body-building, condensing unit and fleet management) experts
  • Transport leasing companies
  • Government regulators,
  • Contractors (general and specialised in refrigeration)
  • Consultants (general and specialised in refrigeration)
  • Technology solutions providers (manufacturers and suppliers)

The above stakeholders have an opportunity to engage in macro- and micro-discussions that could bring solutions for better transport refrigeration, cold storage design, construction, and operation & maintenance and, at the downstream level, sophisticated FSQA programmes that are comprehensively implemented and monitored for optimal performance.

SFDA’s third annual strategic plan (2018-2022) lays out our vision and strategic priorities for addressing the challenges that we face as the regulator of the food, drugs and medical devices sectors. We are continuing on our journey to become a leading international regulator, responsible for protecting the community and promoting access to safe products through sound regulations and effective controls.

As the Saudi economy continues to develop, we must respond to the rapid pace of innovation, the tighter integration of global supply chains, and the increasing demands of our citizens for safe and healthy products. We expect to meet these challenges by making informed decisions based on scientific evidence and by building effective partnerships with the private sector, other government entities and our international partners. We commit to earning the community’s trust by engaging proactively with the public and by building a high-performing, efficient and innovative organization that allows our staff to be the best in all they do.

– Dr Hisham Bin Saad Al-Jadhey, CEO, SFDA

The objectives of the Food Chain conference are:

Downstream:

  • To foster a regimen of well-structured and well-defined FSQA (food safety and quality assurance) programmes that is comprehensive and covers all downstream stakeholders

Upstream and mid-stream:

  • To increase the existing knowledge on transport refrigeration infrastructure in the Kingdom (body-building, condensing units, O&M, fleet management, leasing) and cold storage warehousing (design, construction, O&M), and
  • To discuss regulation- and enforcement-related measures (codes, standards and inspection processes – procedures, checklists and other documents) and changes specific to the two aspects through referencing global best practices and standards.

[Note: Food Chain 2020 could be treated as one among the first few steps towards the two upstream- and mid-stream-related specific objectives. It is proposed that specialised refrigeration consultants, refrigeration contractors and transport refrigeration experts either individually or jointly conduct specific follow-up workshops for regulators and inspectors to emphasise the key areas that need to be considered while auditing transport refrigeration or cold storage infrastructure aspects of the cold chain. While the workshops are beyond the scope of the conference, CPI Industry is happy to facilitate the process of conducting them, if necessary.]