To tackle obesity in the Kingdom…
2 January 2019| Last updated on 2 January 2019
A calorie information stamp will be mandatory in all restaurants
Starting 2019 on a healthier note, Saudi Arabia is trying to tackle a worldwide epidemic – obesity.
And in efforts to tackle the rising levels of obesity in the Kingdom, calorie information labels will be mandatory across all food outlets in the country.
Restaurants and cafes will need to abide by this new regulation by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, which is shedding light on public health concerns in efforts to achieve Saudi’s 2030 Vision.
Gulf countries have been infamous for the rising obesity levels due to the lack of healthy food choices and lack of exercise options in the countries.
However, over the years healthier food outlets have become very popular and countries in the GCC are providing free exercise alternatives for those looking to live an active lifestyle on a budget.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE have some of the world’s highest obesity levels:
- Obese adults – 27 to 40% of the entire population
- Obese children in the UAE – 1 in 3 children
Proposed in Summer
This mandatory move by the Saudi authority was first proposed in the summer of 2017, however, several food outlets complained of the lack of preparation time given to adjust to the new regulation.
However, with several months down the line and the New Year upon Saudi Arabia – restaurants and cafes have been given a grace period to comply with the regulations and guidebook.
The Saudi Food and Drug Authority also provided some businesses with a guidebook on how to reduce calories in food and drink and a correct way to calculate the calories in their menu as some admitted not knowing how to.
Who does it affect?
This new food and health regulation applies to the following food outlets in Saudi Arabia:
- Ice cream parlors
- Juice and fruit vendors
- Sweet shops
This new health regulation is also very specific as to where the customer must be able to see these calorie labels and signs.
The authority stated that customers must see them at the:
- Cashier desk
- Menu board
- Table menus
- Drive thru menus