The Saudi Food and Drug Association (SFDA) is currently in the process of drafting a new law entitled the "Saudi Food Law," which will specify stringent action against violators in the food sector, including restaurants and fast food outlets. Violators will face fines up to SR 100,000, an official familiar with the law said, adding that the law is in the final stages of approval by the judicial authorities. If passed, the new law will be applied in three months. Official sources at the Jeddah Secretariat's commercial supervision department said that restaurants exclusively serving fish are among the worst violators of the health requirements decreed by the SFDA.
Field inspection teams from the health supervision department recorded numerous violations committed in these restaurants, including the use of large quantities of rotten or tainted fish as well as insanitary methods of cleaning seafood, among other violations. Naser Al-Jarallah, director general of the Slaughter Houses and Public Benefit Market at the Jeddah Secretariat, said inspection teams monitor fish markets around the clock. "Every vehicle entering the market from a neighboring country is subject to a thorough inspection before the shipment is unloaded," he affirmed. Al-Jarallah said seafood gone bad and unfit for human consumption is destroyed immediately, emphasizing the fact that supervisors in his department conduct daily inspection tours of shacks and stalls that display fish for sale to ensure they comply with the stipulated health requirements.