By Eileen Mencias
Fish and meat product manufacturers intending to export to Saudi Arabia have until January 31, 2024, to submit a letter of intent and the relevant self-audit forms to the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As per the Department of Trade and Industry, the FDA will lead and collaborate with the relevant DA office for facility inspections.
For exporters of fishery products, the forms must be submitted to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), while exporters of meat products will submit requirements to the FDA.
The FDA, along with BFAR, the National Meat Inspection Service, and the Bureau of Animal Industry, will verify if the facilities meet hygiene and sanitation standards and endorse exporters to the Saudi Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).
The goal is to endorse applications to the SFDA within the first quarter of 2024. Once applications are submitted, the SFDA will issue an invoice to the exporter for the 27,000 Saudi Riyal inspection fee.
Philippine tuna exports totaled $369.45 million in 2023, down by 1.6% from the $375.48 million reported in 2022.