UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment underscores commitment to food safety
DUBAI, UAE, 6 January 2021: The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has stressed that the safety of foodstuffs, whether produced locally or imported, is among its highest priorities. In this context, the Ministry has implemented an integrated approach to enhancing food safety and security in the UAE, it announced through a Press release.
His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “We aim to boost the UAE’s position as a regional and global trade hub for food products through applying the highest standards of food safety to locally produced and imported foods. In addition to keeping food-borne diseases at bay, our food safety controls and measures boost the competitiveness of food products exported and re-exported by the UAE.”
His Excellency Eng Saif Al Shara, Assistant Undersecretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector and Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector, noted that a key pillar of food safety is the accreditation of slaughterhouses exporting meat and meat products to the UAE. He said: “MOCCAE, in collaboration with its stakeholders, works relentlessly to boost the safety of imported foods, and safeguard consumers from harmful and adulterated foods through a host of regulations and processes covering all stages of the supply chain. These include implementing world-class food safety standards, issuing relevant laws, establishing intel exchange mechanisms with the concerned local and international entities, upgrading food safety control procedures, and raising public awareness about sound food-related practices.”
His Excellency Eng Al Shara explained the accreditation process applicable to slaughterhouses that export meat and meat products to the UAE, aimed at ensuring they uphold the halal criteria for animal slaughter. MOCCAE, he said, has contracted trusted organisations overseas to inspect the meat production process at the facilities and submit technical reports to the National Food Safety Committee, comprising experts from the Ministry and local food control authorities from all emirates. After reviewing the reports, the Committee makes recommendations to MOCCAE regarding the accreditation of each slaughterhouse.
According to the Press release, in case the reports issued by the overseas entities or by the border inspection team testify to the slaughterhouse’s failure to adhere to the health or halal requirements, the Ministry immediately revokes its accreditation.
His Excellency Eng Al Shara emphasised that given the high demand for meat and meat products in the UAE, their safety for consumption is a priority for MOCCAE. In this context, the Ministry verifies the documents accompanying inbound consignments shipped by accredited slaughterhouses, such as halal certificates, certificates of origin, and health certificates. It also conducts physical and laboratory tests on samples from shipments, and takes action against those who trade in food products that are non-compliant with food safety regulations or shariah rules.