UAE keeps a firm eye on food safety

Dr Rashid bin Fahad assures the FNC that several bodies were charged with monitoring food safety.

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ABU DHABI // Monitoring imports and locally produced food is not the job of the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, its chief said yesterday.

Dr Rashid bin Fahad told the FNC that several bodies were charged with monitoring food, but his authority worked on legislation and regulations to govern it.

Ahmed Al Jarwan (Sharjah), who first put his question forward several months ago, said his main concern was whether goods sold in stores were safe.

The minister said there were laws to govern food imports, including storage, but not everyone followed federal law.

Dr bin Fahad, also Minister of Environment and Water, said some emirates were known to flout rules but there had been improvement, with the number of law breakers being 3 per cent at most.

Many food products were locally produced and of high quality, contrary to what people believed.

A previous written response from the minister was more detailed.

In it, Dr bin Fahad said food-related illness in exporting countries were investigated and if any problems were found, a ban would be placed on them.

For halal food, foreign butchers and Islamic corporations were checked to ensure safety and Sharia compliance. In the past two years, 21 visits to 17 countries have been made by the minister's team.

He said changes would soon be made to the system of providing halal certificates worldwide.

Locally produced food was also closely monitored and inspected.

Inspectors made field visits to food suppliers, factories, restaurants, wholesale shops and retail outlets.