SAUDI ARABIA – The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has been named champion of the United Nation’s (UN) award for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

It was honored for its efforts to prevent and control these diseases through nutrition-related legislation. In line with the Vision 2030 Quality of Life Program, the authority set out in 2018 to improve public health and enable consumers to find a variety of healthier food options.

The UN Inter-Agency Task Force Award on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases aims to encourage cooperation between UN bodies and global governments to support efforts in combating non-communicable diseases associated with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2021 award recognized the SFDA’s commitment to realizing its vision of becoming “a leading international science-based regulator to protect and promote public health.” The authority seeks to protect and ensure community safety through regulations and adequate controls of food and pesticides.

Since its launch, the SFDA has worked on several pieces of legislation related to food products and food establishments. The legislation was introduced to improve the nutritional value of food products in local markets by limiting the consumption of sugar, salt, and fat, and obligating food establishments with menu labeling for calories and allergens.

It also launched several initiatives and awareness campaigns on proper nutrition and the healthy choices available in food and beverages. The initiatives include the Food Labeling Nutrition Calculator and the revival of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables in food establishments and the workplace.

Winners of the 2021 Task Force Awards

This year 19 organizations received UN Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of NCDs awards. Winners were announced by the WHO Deputy Director-General at the annual Friends of the Task Force meeting during the UN General Assembly.

“We congratulate all those awarded today. We look forward to hearing progress on their work in the months ahead. We hope that these awards encourage even greater action both by those awarded and everyone else in responding to the challenge of the NCD-related SDGs,” said the World Health Organization (WHO) Deputy Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in presenting the awards.

2021 marks the 4th year that the Task Force awards have been run. Public Health England was awarded for their exemplary work in introducing and sharing experience in working with industry to reformulate food and drink with lower levels of salt, sugar and calories.

Meanwhile the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was crowned for the India@75: Freedom from Trans-fats by 2022 initiative, collaborating with food industry associations.

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