In a world characterized by increasing health awareness and concern for the quality of the food we eat, a warehouse dedicated to storing and distributing foodstuffs plays a crucial role in ensuring our food safety and well-being .
Regular warehouses differ from licensed food warehouses, as the latter must comply with a set of requirements and special requirements that ensure compliance with strict standards in terms of safety and food quality, because licensing a food warehouse is not just a routine procedure, but rather an important process that guarantees the sustainability of the food supply chain and health protection the public.
This article includes a comprehensive exploration of the basic factors that must be available in licensed food warehouses. We will delve into the local regulations and legislation by the Food and Drug Authority, and learn about the exact standards that warehouse owners must adhere to to ensure successful operation and safe handling of food products.
What is a food warehouse?
A food warehouse is defined as a space dedicated to storing and preserving foodstuffs, and it is characterized by its advanced design and equipment that allows it to maintain the quality and safety of the products stored in it. Food warehouses are operated as an independent facility by the owners of food establishments, or the owners of warehouses designated for storage of third parties such as a third partner. 3rd partner, or commercial companies that store and distribute foodstuffs to a large number of customers, such as markets, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, and others.
Foodstuffs are sensitive commodities that are affected by external factors, such as temperature, humidity, lighting, and pollution. Therefore, warehouse owners must adhere to strict quality and food safety standards in storing and preserving food products. The licensing of food warehouses in accordance with local standards and regulations by the Food and Drug Authority is a guarantee. To consumers by obtaining safe and healthy food products.
The importance of having a food warehouse
Food warehouses are of great importance in the process of storing and preserving foodstuffs for others, for several reasons, including:
Maintaining the quality of food products
Maintaining the quality of food products is vital, and food storage warehouses play a crucial role in achieving this, through practices such as:
- Providing suitable storage conditions for food products. Factors such as temperature, humidity, lighting and ventilation are controlled in a way that preserves the quality of the products. For example, some foodstuffs can be stored in refrigeration or freezing conditions to preserve their freshness and quality.
- Inventory management plays an important role in maintaining the quality of food products. “Priority dates” principles are applied to ensure that products are used before their expiration date. Merchandise rotations are organized so that the oldest products are used first to ensure that products are not spoiled.
- Conducting periodic checks of food products in any food warehouse to ensure their safety and quality. This includes examining products to verify the absence of defects or damage, and examining them according to the specified health and quality standards.
- Maintaining cleanliness and pest control. Strict measures are taken to maintain cleanliness inside warehouses, such as cleaning and disinfecting spaces regularly, using personal protective equipment for workers, and implementing pest control programmes. These measures aim to prevent contamination of food products and maintain their quality and safety.
- Warehouses help monitor the supply chain of foodstuffs, and the necessary information about stored products is recorded, such as expiry date, appropriate dates for consumption, and source of products.
Reducing costs is an important factor in managing any food warehouse , and costs are reduced through some practices and steps such as:
- Improving space organization and efficient utilization By reducing space and improving the organization of shelves and aisles, space utilization can be optimized and costs associated with excess space can be reduced.
- Improving the arrangement and classification system and facilitating access to products, thus reducing wasted time and improving work efficiency.
- Improve demand forecasting, proper preparation of stock quantities, reduce overstocking and avoid stockouts.
- The use of modern technologies and automation systems in warehousing and distribution operations such as the use of integrated warehouse management systems (WMS), barcode tracking systems and RFID technology to improve automation.
- Improving the correct storage and circulation system for products, which reduces spoilage and spoilage, thus reducing the costs involved in replacing damaged products and improving the overall efficiency of the warehouse.
- Improved communication and collaboration in terms of order planning, inventory management and delivery scheduling can improve operations efficiency and reduce costs associated with sourcing.
meet market needs
Meeting the needs of the market is one of the main benefits of having warehouses for storing and preserving foodstuffs. When there is an increase in demand for a particular product, warehouses that store foodstuffs can provide sufficient quantities of this product to meet the needs of the market.
Warehouses can also act as a distribution center for food products, as goods are stored in one place before they are distributed to different markets, and by reducing the time it takes for the product to reach the markets, the market needs can be met better and faster.
Enhancing the sustainability of the food supply chain
The existence of dedicated food warehouses contributes to improving the efficiency and effectiveness in preserving and storing food products, as the stock is systematically organized and arranged, validity dates are determined and the life cycle of products is managed. In addition, some warehouses provide inspection, sorting and packaging services, which contributes to Improving product quality and achieving customer satisfaction.
Mechanism for obtaining a food warehouse license
The method of applying for a license for a food warehouse located outside the industrial cities differs, and for obtaining a license for a warehouse located within the industrial cities, all you have to do is follow the following steps after determining the location of the warehouse:
First: A food warehouse outside the industrial cities
- Submitting a food warehouse license application on the Baladi website of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs in the Kingdom.
- Issuing a municipal license for the warehouse from the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs in the Kingdom.
- Submit an application through the unified website of the Food and Drug Authority from here .
- Issuing a license to practice the warehouse activity from the Food and Drug General Authority within 5 working days.
Second: A food warehouse inside the industrial cities
- Signing a food warehouse contract with the Saudi Industrial Estates Authority.
- Issuing a license to operate a food warehouse from the Saudi Industrial Estates Authority.
- Submit an application through the unified website of the Food and Drug Authority from here .
- Issuance of a food warehouse license to practice the activity from the Food and Drug General Authority within 5 working days.
Documents required to obtain a food warehouse license
During the application in the unified electronic system of the General Authority in the Kingdom to obtain a food warehouse license, some papers and documents required to complete the service must be attached, and these papers are:
- A copy of the municipal license.
- Attach a lease contract or operating license if the warehouse is located in one of the industrial cities areas.
- Attach the contract concluded with the rented warehouse in the event of renting space from a warehouse designated for storage to others.
Storage requirements and conditions for others
The Food and Drug Authority sets some conditions and requirements for licensing a food warehouse , which must be adhered to by both parties (the lessor – the lessee) in order to store foodstuffs in a safe environment for all, and these requirements are:
First: Conditions to be observed in the contract for both parties (lessor – lessee)
- The lessee obtains the necessary licenses from the Food and Drug Authority to carry out the warehouse activity in storing foodstuffs for others.
- Determine who is responsible for transporting foodstuffs from both parties within the contract.
- Determining the space allocated to the tenant in the contract in a clear and detailed manner, so that it is not less than 20 square meters dedicated only to storing foodstuffs.
- Determine the full responsibilities of the two parties within the contract, which are (receipt and delivery – unloading and loading – destruction – withdrawal – maintenance work).
- The existence of a clear and explicit clause stating that automatic renewal is not permissible between the two parties. Rather, a new contract must be signed between the two parties before the expiration of the previous contract, and the contract period should not exceed one year from the date of signing.
- The contract must contain a provision not to allow the tenant to store foodstuffs of unknown or unregistered origin.
- The tenant is not allowed to lease the warehouse or part of it to others.
Second: the responsibility of the tenant
- Ensure the sources of purchase and supply of foodstuffs stored in his warehouse, as they are either local and licensed by the Food and Drug General Authority, or imported by him in his capacity as the official agent or authorized distributor for it.
- Documenting all food receipt and delivery operations that are stored in the designated area and archiving them in paper or electronic form.
- Full compliance with all conditions and controls issued by the Authority regarding licensing a food warehouse .
- Full compliance with all procedures and recalls for foodstuffs issued by the Authority.
Third: Responsibilities of the warehouse (the lessor)
- Ensuring the documentation, recording and archiving of all receipt and delivery processes for foodstuffs that are stored in the warehouse, either on paper or electronically.
- Transporting expired foodstuffs from the warehouse to the designated area.
- Not to keep any expired food product in the warehouse for a period exceeding one year from the expiry date.
- Notify the tenant of any circular or summons issued by the Authority immediately by e-mail or in writing in accordance with the contract concluded between the two parties.
- Follow-up of all storage operations, including requirements and violations, and the suitability of the warehouse for storing foodstuffs in accordance with the related technical conditions.
- He has the right to assume responsibility for transporting foodstuffs, provided that appropriate means of transportation are provided for that.
- Obtaining the authority’s approval when contracting with a third party for quality transportation and mentioning this in the contract with the lessee.
- Addressing the authority in the event of termination or expiration of the contract, because he will be responsible for the presence of food products in the warehouse without a contract.
- Bearing the legal responsibility related to withdrawing samples from the foodstuffs inside the warehouse.
- Documenting all data related to recalled foodstuffs and storing them in the designated area.
- Ensure that there is a proportionality between the total area of the licensed warehouse and the number of tenants.
- Provide an accurate system linked electronically with the authority to follow up the receipt and disbursement of foodstuffs.
- Full compliance with Gulf standards.
Tips for choosing the right food warehouse for your business
Food storage and preservation warehouses play an important role in enhancing the sustainability of the food supply chain, and they contribute greatly to the success of your business, but you must ensure that they apply the conditions for licensing a raw materials warehouse from the Food and Drug Authority, and here are some tips that help in choosing the appropriate warehouse:
- Find a warehouse that is close to food production areas or major residential areas to reduce transportation distances and improve efficiency.
- Verify that the warehouse provides sufficient space to meet your warehousing, preservation and distribution needs, taking into account future business growth.
- Ensure good infrastructure, including a proper cooling and ventilation system, is in place to maintain the quality of food products.
- Check that strict security and safety measures are in place, such as an access control system and fire and theft protection systems.
- Look for a warehouse that uses technology and automation in its warehousing and distribution processes for higher efficiency and better accuracy.
- Check the availability of additional services such as packaging, distribution and inventory management to facilitate your operations.
- Investigate the warehouse’s record and reputation in the field of warehousing, preservation and distribution, and ensure that it has experience and competence in the food field.
- Ensure that the warehouse adheres to health and environmental standards, regulations, and legislation for food storage issued by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.
- Verify that the warehouse can meet your specific needs and provide customized services, such as cold storage or special packaging.
- Ensure that the warehouse can adapt to your changing needs and provide customized solutions for the food items you handle.
In conclusion, it becomes clear to us the importance of having warehouses for storing and preserving foodstuffs. A food warehouse is not just a place for storage, but rather a critical point in the food supply chain, as it contributes to maintaining the quality of food products, reducing costs, meeting market needs, and supporting the local economy. And enhancing the sustainability of the food supply chain, and by providing an appropriate and reliable environment for storage, this type of warehouse becomes an essential element to ensure the safe and high-quality flow of food products from the warehouse to the consumer, and with this we realize that we cannot do without the role of these warehouses in ensuring the availability of healthy and safe food for all Provided full compliance with regulations and legislation by all parties.