Health Conferences and Seminars
Recommendations of the First Scientific Forum “Foods with Medical Claims”
The Nutrition General Department of the Ministry of Health (MOH) organized a one-day scientific forum titled, "Foods with Medical Claims" under the auspices of His Excellency the Minister of Health, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah. The forum was opened by the Supervisor-General of the Nutrition General Department, Mr. Mishari bin Hamad Al-Dakhil, on Wednesday 27th of Muharram 1431H at King Fahad Cultural Center.
 
The forum was attended by several scientists and professional experts in this field from various public and private entities, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, King Saud University, the Ministry of National Guard, the Consumer Protection Association, the Saudi Society of Food and Nutrition, the Saudi Dietetic Association, Riyadh Program for Combating Obesity, public and private hospitals, such as King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Aramco Hospital, and some charity associations.
 
On the sidelines of the forum, a one-day specialized food and health awareness exhibition was opened and attended by several entities from the public and private sectors. While opening the exhibition, Mr. Al-Dakhil was accompanied by the Director General of Riyadh Health Affairs, Dr. Hisham bin Nazirah, and the Dean of the Faculty of Food Science and Agriculture at King Saud University Professor Hassan Al-Qahtani. 
 
Meanwhile, Mr. Al-Dakhil explained in his speech that the forum aimed at briefing people on the food and nutritional products that are useful for the treatment of diseases, the types of foods with medical claims and their usage under medical consultation. Moreover, Mr. Al-Dakhil noted that the forum consists of three scientific sessions, 10 lectures and a discussion panel, which will be attended by several specialized entities, non-governmental organizations and private institutions and hospitals. The forum targets workers in the nutrition field, nutritionists, pediatricians, internal medicine physicians, pharmacists, health supervisors, producers, suppliers, etc.
 
The first session included 4 lectures on the types, usages and complications of foods with medical claims, products of alternative and complementary medicine, stimulants and complications and risks of alternative medicine claims. These lectures were delivered by Professor Rashoud Al-Shagrawi, Dr. Abdullah Al-Baddah, Dr. Said Ahmed Mustafa and Dr. Ahmed Al-Eleemi. The second session, meanwhile, tackled tube feeding, foods of infants and kids with medical claims, diet products and weight gain/loss products. This lecture was delivered by Dr. Hammam Qandil, Dr. Fahad Al-Bayahi and Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Othaimin.
 
The third session focused on the role of the concerned bodies in providing awareness and control on foods with medical claims and the role of the media outlets in limiting their usage, in addition to the most important rules and regulations that govern medical nutritional products. The session was delivered by Dr. Abdullah Al-Sadahan and Mr. Magid Al-Khalaf.  
 
Within the same vein, Mr. Al-Dakhil warned against the misleading medical claims, which are based on fake information. "Such products might cause many health complications for the human being, such as kindly failure, cirrhosis and others," he elaborated, adding "We are committed to providing medically-claimed foods that are authorized by the Ministry of Health and do not pose any serious health danger." 
 
 
Representing the MOH's Nutrition General Department, Mr. Al-Dakhil suggested a number of initial recommendations during the concluding discussion panel before submitting them to the concerned authorities. Such recommendations include: 
 
  • Defining foods with medical claims as any food substance or product with a health effect or with a preventive or remedial claim that it has a health or medical effect.
  • Calling upon the concerned governmental authorities to update systems and specifications of foods with medical claims.
  • Banning all types of advertisements about medically-unlicensed foods on screens of media outlets in order to control circulation of these products, thus contributing to protecting consumers and increasing efficiency of follow-up and regular control.
  • Intensifying health and nutrition awareness programs among the community members to brief them on the content of the product through its label and the authorizing body in the Kingdom. The recommendations included also intensifying awareness programs on the hazards resulting from these products.
  • Paving the way for the concerned authorities to keep a close eye on these products, whether those produced by local or international companies to protect customers against fraud. Also, the recommendations stressed the importance of facing unscientifically proven claims and removing the harmful and unhealthy products from markets.
  • Banning usage of foods with medical claims or health effects unless after consulting the physician or the nutritionist. The recommendations called also for conducting the necessary scientific research regularly on all types of foods, especially those with medical claims or health effects.
  • Making sure that the product with medical claims was medically and laboratory tested by authorized bodies. In addition, the product must be valid for human use and free from any side effects.
  • Making necessary coordination among the concerned bodies to provide continuous control and follow-up for the products with medical claims, whether those produced by local or international companies, to ensure consumers' safety and protection.
  • Launching intensive training and scientific programs for the specialized workers to discuss updates in the field of foods with medical claims or health effects.
 
It's to be noted here that the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCHS) has accredited 6 hours of continued education for this scientific forum, which is considered the first of its type.
 
 
 
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