Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing has announced a directive for restaurants and food service outlets to implement a tracking system for all ingredients and packaging used in food preparation, according to Saudi Gazette report.

This capability is crucial for facilitating product recalls or aiding investigations when there are breaches of food safety regulations.

The move by the Saudi authorities comes after a recent incident where 75 people were hospitalised in a food poisoning outbreak that struck Riyadh last week, according to Gulf News.

On 25 April 2024, Riyadh authorities linked several food poisoning cases to a restaurant.

One person was reported dead due to the food poisoning.

“All these cases were linked to an outbreak of food poisoning attributed to one source,” the ministry said.

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As a safety measure, the Ministry also prepared a guide that stipulates that the tracking system must enable operators to identify the source of each ingredient or item and monitor quantities.

According to the guide, it is essential for food establishments to register the supplier’s name in the tracking system upon receipt of goods, using the invoice or delivery voucher for this purpose.

The system should also document the supply chain’s previous and next parties, ensuring operators can contact them if necessary.

Furthermore, the Ministry has made it mandatory for operators to maintain an up-to-date list of supplier and corporate customer contact numbers.  This measure is to ensure swift communication during emergencies, particularly in situations that may require a product recall.