ABU DHABI // Residents of the capital should have much safer food once sweeping legislation governing food safety is passed later this year. The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) invited food industry leaders to a session today in which they were allowed to raise any points of opposition to draft regulation that would see them face tightened hygiene standards and higher costs. The event was a rare opportunity for the public to influence lawmaking directly in the UAE, and for the food industry to highlight its grievances with the law. Officials at the ADFCA ceded the ground often to industry professionals, appending the draft law with recommendations from the private sector ahead of studying them and possibly amending the law as it stands. Their complaints included what they felt were unnecessary medical checks for staff, huge rises in costs, lack of clarity, clashes with federal legislation and excessive penalties.
The Government said it saw food hygiene as critical for the emirate's security. Mariam al Yousuf, the executive director of the policy and regulations sector at the ADFCA, said the aim of the new law was "to continue to create a confident, secure society and build a sustainable, open and globally competitive economy," that would also "elevate the quality of life" while balancing consumer protection and the encouragement of trade. firstname.lastname@example.org