New Gulf Cooperation Council guidance for food producers and exporters

The GSO sets standards and guidelines to ensure the safety, quality, and conformity of food products circulating in the GCC market

Campden BRI has launched an e-book to help food producers meet the requirements of operating in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

The e-book, Setting food and drink shelf-life in the GCC region, is published in English and Arabic, It provides guidance and insight for food producers and exporters on the GCC’s regulatory framework, especially when it comes to expiration and shelf-life requirements.

The GCC comprises six member states: Kingdom of Bahrain, State of Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman, State of Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Within this region the Gulf Standardisation Organisation (GSO) is the primary authority responsible for standardisation and regulatory initiatives.

In the context of food regulation, the GSO plays a central role in harmonising standards and establishing guidelines to ensure the safety, quality and conformity of food products circulating in the GCC market. The GSO develops and implements standardised protocols, encompassing labelling, production, expiration dates, packaging, and many other critical aspects of food safety and quality control.

“One of GSO’s fundamental objectives is to unify regulations and practices among member states, fostering consistency and coherence in food standards across borders,” said Houaida Alawieh, senior regulatory affairs advisor and GCC lead at Campden BRI. “This harmonisation effort aims to facilitate the free movement of goods within the GCC, whilst upholding stringent safety and quality benchmarks.”

She added: “Manufacturers encounter various complexities in maintaining adherence to shelf-life regulations in the GCC, namely the mandatory nature of the GSO standards, and the GCC’s environmental conditions, especially the very hot climate.

“This e-book combined with expert advice from the Campden BRI team provides comprehensive guidance on GSO standards. This includes providing detailed insights into specific requirements across diverse food categories, ensuring compliance with mandatory expiration periods, and crafting tailored solutions to align product shelf-life with regulatory demands.”