Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New set of food regulations in the pipeline

The Gulf Today, 3 Nov 2009

DUBAI Municipality (DM) is contemplating strict regulations on risk-based analysis of food items starting from categories including water, dairy and meat production units and training of employees in each sector.
Bashir Hassan Yousif, Acting Head of Food Studies and Planning Section at the DM, said, "As per the planned legislation, all food business operators must show that they have adopted good hygienic practices on premises suitable for the purpose and it should not be just meeting the minimum requirements of the law."
"Provisions of the science-based food safety legislation will focus on prevention from various problems such as food poisoning rather than curing in the event of hazards. The DM initiative will move towards enforcing self regulation, as a combination of government and business regulatory efforts," he added.
Yousif was speaking to the media after an educational workshop on food regulations on the sidelines of the Sweets Middle East 2009 Exhibitions at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
"In the first phase, the regulations will be imposed on categories including water, dairy and meat production units. Training the workers in the concerned units as well as service sector employees will also be mandatory as per the new regulations," he said.
"A set of new regulations became necessary as the present guidelines are not specific enough and are insufficient for meeting food safety standards in all aspects," he added.
The DM official noted that a categorised guideline for different areas of food manufacturing and operations will be drafted as a transparent and integrated approach for risk-based food control depending on reliable sampling and analytical methods.
"The regulations have been planned to outline considering risk-based analysis conducted according to the current scientific factors. The responsibilities will be decentralised for the manufacturers and food suppliers," he said.
According to Yousif, the set food safety measures are planned in the wake of the growing significance of the risk-based analysis, cost benefit or impact analysis and risk communication. All food establishments should adhere to the control systems," he stressed.
He said, "Meanwhile, in traditional food regulatory and control systems, the set of standards are outlined by the government. So the responsibilities are presumed to be the regulator's (government) task. But the new regulations will emphasise the responsibility of food manufacturers."

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