BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 23 Feb 2010
Concerted efforts should be taken from all quarters to fight the new challenges in food safety, especially food-borne illnesses, according to the UAE environment minister Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad.
He was speaking after the inauguration of the fifth edition of Dubai International Food Safety Conference (DIFSC 2010) on Monday at the Dubai Convention and Exhibition Centre.
According to him, the changes in global food consumption pattern, consumer trends and the advancements in the food manufacturing and processing has its impact on food safety.
Hosted by Dubai Municipality (DM), the three-day food safety conference themed "Food Safety, A Responsibility to Share," will run alongside the Gulfood Exhibition run until Feb.24.
Global organisations such as the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), International Association of Food Protection (IAFP), and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are participating in the conference.
Bin Fahad pointed out, "Increased pressures on drafting new food safety regulations to enhance steps to ensure maximum safety of foods consumed worldwide have been attributed to the recent issues associated with chemical contaminants, pesticides and veterinary drugs."
"Food safety issues emerge despite the development and advancement in food testing, disease surveillance and enhanced food safety standards," he added.
"Over 250 different types of food-borne diseases have been indicated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). More than 30 per cent of the world population is suffering from these diseases and proves fatal for 2.2 million people annually," the minister quoted.
"To combat food related diseases, concerned parties such as primary producer, supplier, manufacturers, consumers, scientists, media and food control authorities should involve diligently along the food chain," he noted.
Bin Fahad explained that the federal government has been keen over the years to set laws, specifications, regulations and guidelines necessary to ensure food safety and educate the public about the importance of food safety.
"Aimed at improving the quality of products and to facilitate free trade in food commodities, technical support has already been provided to the national level establishments for agriculture, animal production and food manufacturing," he said.