Step-by-Step Guide to Importing Food Products to KSA

Sanu Foods :

Importing food and agricultural products to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) requires strict adherence to the regulations and standards set by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA). These regulations are in place to ensure the safety, quality, and compliance of imported products, ultimately safeguarding the health and well-being of consumers in the country.

Below, you will find a comprehensive guide outlining the specific steps that KSA importers must follow to achieve a smooth and successful importation process.

Registering the imported food products with the SFDA

The first crucial step is to register the imported food products with the SFDA. This responsibility lies with the importers or agents who are bringing the products into the country. By registering the products, importers demonstrate their commitment to complying with the SFDA regulations and ensuring the safety and quality of the imported goods.

Ensuring compliance with labeling requirements

In Saudi Arabia, it is mandatory to label the country of origin (COO) on both imported and locally produced products. This labeling requirement serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it allows consumers to make informed choices by knowing where the product comes from. Secondly, it promotes transparency in the market, enabling authorities to trace the origin of products in case of any issues or concerns. By clearly indicating the COO on the product packaging, importers demonstrate their commitment to transparency and consumer safety.

Obtaining the necessary export certificates

To meet the requirements of Saudi Arabia’s regulatory and import control agencies, importers must obtain the necessary export certificates. These certificates serve as proof that the products meet the necessary safety and quality standards. The Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) - Certificates Report outlines the major export certificates needed for different products. Each shipment must be accompanied by a health certificate issued by a competent government agency. This certificate confirms that the products, including any biotech ingredients used in grain production, are approved for human or animal consumption in the country of origin. By obtaining these certificates, importers demonstrate their commitment to ensuring the safety and quality of the imported products.

Utilizing authorized certification bodies

Navigating the complex regulatory landscape can be challenging for importers. To streamline the certification process, it is advisable to engage an authorized certification body. These bodies have the expertise and knowledge to assist importers in ensuring that their products meet the required standards and regulations. They can provide guidance and support throughout the importation process, helping importers navigate the intricacies of compliance. Importers can refer to the list of authorized certification bodies available on the SFDA website to find a reputable certification body to assist them.

Paying import tariffs

Imported food products are subject to import duties in Saudi Arabia. The majority of food products are subject to a 10 to 15 percent import duty, while certain processed food products may have higher import duties. It is crucial for importers to be aware of these tariffs and factor them into their cost calculations. Understanding the applicable import duties helps importers make informed decisions and plan their importation process effectively. By fulfilling their financial obligations, importers contribute to the economic stability of the country while ensuring the availability of a diverse range of food products for consumers.

Checking the allowable additives list

The SFDA maintains a list of approved additives that can be used in food products. If a supplier intends to introduce a new food additive, they must provide detailed information about the additive and verify if it is included in the allowable additives list. This step ensures that only safe and permitted additives are used in the production of food and agricultural products. By adhering to the allowable additives list, importers demonstrate their commitment to product safety and compliance with SFDA regulations.

Protecting local food processors and production

Saudi Arabia places significant importance on protecting local food processors and production. Import duties are linked to the level of local production of similar products. This measure aims to prevent the adverse impact of competitively priced imports on the local industry. By implementing import duties based on local production, Saudi Arabia promotes a sustainable and thriving domestic food industry. Importers should be mindful of this aspect and support the local industry while ensuring a balance between imports and domestic production.


To summarize, the process of importing food and agricultural products into Saudi Arabia requires careful adherence to the regulations and standards set by the SFDA. Local importers in KSA must diligently follow these steps to ensure compliance and successfully bring a wide range of products into the country, including fresh fruits, vegetables, frozen fruits, vegetables, pickles, spices and herbs, or other food products.

Sanu Foods understands and complies with all the necessary regulations, and their expertise enables them to assist importers in achieving a smooth importing experience. With their knowledge and experience, Sanu Foods can guide importers through the complex importation process, ensuring compliance with SFDA requirements.

This ultimately contributes to the availability of safe and high-quality food products in Saudi Arabia. Importers, by prioritizing consumer safety and product quality, play a crucial role in meeting the diverse food demands of the Saudi Arabian market while upholding the highest standards of compliance.

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