New committee formed by UAE Cabinet to address healthcare standards

Nutritional labelling on certain food products is likely to form part of plans

A new committee formed by the UAE Cabinet will seek to further increase healthcare standards across the country, officials have announced.

Members will create a unified, federal strategy aimed at improving patient care. The committee will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed.

The initiative is part of a series of new directives announced on Saturday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Other key planks to his announcement include a renewed focus on the country’s economic performance as well as a greater emphasis on community groups.

The meeting approved a range of federal decisions and laws related to the health sector to support public health and provide world-class health care, the state news agency Wam, reported.

These decisions aim to create a comprehensive nationwide approach to health [and] promote cooperation among relevant federal and local authorities, it said.

As part of efforts to improve health care across the Emirates, the committee is also expected to introduce nutritional labelling on certain food products.

Officials announced a three-colour, traffic light system of red, yellow and green labels to indicate sugar, salt and fat content.

However, the system is likely to exclude produce such as fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. It will also exclude fizzy drinks including energy drinks. It is not yet clear when the policy will come into force.

“As part of the meeting’s agenda, the Cabinet also adopted a policy related to nutritional value labels on products, which aims to promote public health and encourage people to choose healthy foods,” Wam said.

“As per this policy, information on sugar, salt and fat contents, as well as calories, must be included on food labels.

“Food products will be categorised as one of three colours, red, yellow and green, to clearly distinguish their nutritional values.

“The impact of this policy on the community will be assessed before its mandatory adoption in future.”