In an effort to comply with the charge given by the World Health Organization to reduce the amount of sodium found in packaged foods, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority has set a regulation for bakers in regards to the permissible amount of sodium allowed in baked breads. This obligation coming as a result of an awareness campaign driven by the FDA of Saudi Arabia to educate bakers on the dangers of high sodium consumption.
The campaign involved the presence of SFDA food safety inspectors as well as the municipalities of Riyadh in bakeries throughout Riyadh and other regions, physically visiting bakeries, teaching them how to calculate sodium levels in their products. The Saudi Food and Drug Authority representatives even went as far as the distribution of multilingual educational posters to assist bakers and bread manufacturers with their compliance of the new sodium limit of 1/100g of their final product by the release of the new regulation in effect Wednesday June 12, 2019.
Dangers of Sodium Consumption
As mentioned before, the Saudi Technical Regulation “Technical Requirements of Bread Production” released by the FDA of Saudi Arabia is an effort by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to come into alignment with World Health Organization requirements for the proper sodium levels in food products.
According to the World Health Organization, high sodium intake combined with low potassium consumption contributes to high blood pressure, and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. The average person consumes approximately 9-12 g of salt per day, twice the amount of the RDA for sodium intake. The reduction of sodium intake by half of the average person’s intake drastically reduces risk of disease and death caused by the effects of high blood pressure as a result of high salt intake.
Calculating Sodium Levels in Packaged Goods
As a consumer relies on the accuracy of a manufacturer’s food label to ensure they are consuming sodium within safe limits, a manufacturer must also rely on accurate calculation through nutrient analysis to provide that reassurance and information to their customers. In light of the awareness movement in the middle east and throughout the kingdom of Saudi Arabia driven by desire to align their legislation with World Health Organization requirements, it is important to have access to programs that provide accurate nutrient analysis. This way, a consumer will be aware of not only the calories that are within a product, but other pertinent information such as sodium levels.
Recommended sodium levels achieved through proper food analysis will result in an effective nutrition label. This label will become the source of further information on salt levels and ingredient content for consumers purchasing breads and other packaged goods to make educated choices when purchasing and consuming food items.
With the assistance of a Registered Dietitian and a massive database provided through detailed nutrition analysis software programming, food manufacturers can easily find themselves within compliance of the food safety laws and regulations released by regulatory authorities.
Consulting a Professional
The endeavor to increase public health by reducing sodium levels is a movement that will continue to gain traction over the next several years. World Health Organization member states, such as Saudi Arabia, the United States and other parts of the world have agreed to make an effort to decrease the global sodium intake by 30% as of the year 2025 according to further information released on the WHO website.
So what does this mean for the food manufacturer in the middle east? How does one ensure they are within food safety limits according to the Saudi Food and Drug Authority? The solution is found by consulting the right professional.
Working with a Registered Dietitian to perform a proper food analysis will provide accurate information regarding a product’s ingredient list, nutrition information and in this case, sodium levels. Coupled with the right nutrition analysis software, the food manufacturer will not only be able to provide this information to the public via proper labeling, but also pull reports, alter existing product recipes and improve the health quality of their products. All this being done seamlessly within accordance of the global public health initiative.