The UAE’s efforts in maintaining food safety
Food safety is an essential element of food security, especially in the UAE, which depends on imports for meeting a large part of its food needs. The UAE took the following measures to ensure food safety.
- Passed a law on food safety
- Introduced National Food Accreditation and Registration System
- Launched the National Rapid Alert System for Food
- Applied control of imported food for non-trading purposes.
Federal law on food safety
In January 2016, H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE approved the Federal Law No. 10 of 2015 on Food Safety. The law imposes standards and regulations for maintaining the safety and quality of food and ensuring the protection of public health and consumers. The law imposes strict penalties on those found to be endangering food safety across the UAE. Some aspects of the food law are:
- No food may be imported into the country for the first time without approval of Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
- Those dealing in food or products that contain pork or alcohol or any of their by-products without permission face a prison term of not less than a month and a fine of up to AED 500,000.
- Misleading consumers by publishing a false description of food or using incorrect labels will attract a fine ranging from AED 10,000 to 100,000.
The law authorises Ministry of Economy to impose fines of up to AED 100,000 for other offences, provided that these offences are regulated by the Cabinet. Through its National Food Safety Committee, the Ministry of Climate Change & Environment works with its partners on implementing the law on safety of food and its executive regulations, which includes strict controls and standards to ensure food safety throughout the food chain.
The National Rapid Alert System for Food
The National Rapid Alert System for Food was launched in 2017 to ensure proper implementation of response measures when serious food risks are detected. The system identifies the mechanisms of managing food risk alerts as well as banning and lifting of bans on adulterated and misbranded food.
The components of the system include: assignment of responsibilities and roles, identifying types of food alerts, identifying the criteria to report food incidents, including border rejection of food and adulterated products in the market. The system applies a classification matrix to the food incidents as either high, medium or low. It also includes the triggers for the classification, namely the severity of risk to public health, the size and scale of an incident and the number of people affected by it.
Local entities ensuring food safety
Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority ensures food safety in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and guarantees that the food is fit for human consumption. It also conducts the necessary research and studies on safe food and issue rules, regulations and standards on food items sold or offered for human consumption.
Department of Health - Abu Dhabi has published a list of adulterated products.
In the emirates of Dubai and Sharjah, food safety falls under the scope of the respective municipal authorities.
Municipalities oversee food safety requirements and ensure that products have correct labels and expiry dates for consumption. They conduct random inspections across all food stuff stores and restaurants to ensure the quality of food supplied and to ensure that it is suitable for people to eat.
For more information, check the links bellow:
Updated on 24 Jun 2020