x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Food imported from Syria thoroughly inspected at UAE ports, says ministry

All food imported from Syria is subjected to thorough inspections that include up to 225 tests upon arrival at UAE ports, the Ministry of Environment confirmed.

Saif Mohammed Al Sharea, the undersecretary of the ministry for agricultural and veterinary affairs, told Al Ittihad, The National’s Arabic language sister paper, that food imported from Syria is safe after fears it might have been contaminated with sarin gas after the chemical weapon was used in the country.

Mr Al Sharea explained that sarin gas is lethal upon direct exposure only and not through contaminated foods. He noted that it is a pesticide-like component that doesn’t pose a significant threat to foods since it can’t survive in the environment for long.

He added the gas could transform into residue in produce that was exposed to it directly and that the ministry makes sure to conduct all the necessary lab analysis for pesticide residue in fruits and vegetables.

He noted that produce shipments that are found to contain higher levels of pesticide residue than the globally acceptable levels are not allowed into the country.