x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Northern emirates ’worse off’ without unified UAE food safety law

Smaller emirates such as Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain were found to be worse off without unified food safety procedures

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recommended the unification of import and export procedures be applied by all border inspectors. A single federal health certificate was also advised.

Smaller emirates in the north were found to be the worse off in terms of food safety procedures. No licensing requirements for food handlers could be found in Ajman and Fujairah while importation requirements and procedures could not clearly be identified in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.

“We recommend to establish a risk assessment unit at a federal level to have reliable data for daily activities,” said Dr Cristiano Longo, a food safety consultant at the FAO. “It’s important to have someone properly trained that can collect the information and prepare it.”

A unified data collection system was also suggested, and would include labs and border inspection posts.

“There needs to be coordination of controls to avoid double checks,” he said. “A stronger foodborne disease surveillance system is also recommended - there should be a single system.”

cmalek@thenational.ae