Sunday, March 7, 2010

Over 350 food shipments rejected in Dubai

17 Dec 2009, The Gulf Today

Dubai Municipality (DM) has rejected at least 352 food shipments that were found incompatible for consumption in laboratory tests carried out at the municipal facilities.
The civic body strengthened its restrictions and controls on import of foods to ensure that the eatables that come in are suitable for human consumption and contain no prohibited colours or risk-posing ingredients, according to a senior municipality official.
Iman Ali Al Bastaki, Head of the Food Trade Unit at DM said that the rejected food product shipments were identified from a total of 15,093 that came into Dubai during the month of November through the air and seaports of the emirate.
Rejection reasons
"Some shipments did not have the complete accompanying documentation required for import of food items into the country as per the rules and regulations," he said.
"The concerned regulations have been specified on the country's approved food labeling clauses. Besides, the importer has to have a licence to practise food trade activities," he added.
Al Bastaki pointed out, "The trader also has to meet the requirements on storage facilities of the particular food item, and sanitary and hygiene conditions of the highest standard need to be maintained."
Monitoring method
According to him, the ban on a specific food product is executed in accordance with the ministerial order and criteria drafted by the health authorities. The health control system of the municipality monitors all kinds of edible products imported through the ports of the Emirate.
"The DM electronically registers all food items imported by using an advanced global control system. It also puts tight controls on food items produced locally, with regulations that any food items should not be sold unless they are registered under the DM's regulatory system," she explained.
She noted that the provisions for control of domestic and imported foods ensure that the food item reaches to consumers with maximum safety. The system monitors each step of procedures from arrival of shipments to storage and distribution of the food items. The system also provides accurate specifications on the type of food and the results of sampling, as well as risk factors in the particular material.
The municipality has started applying new standards on food labeling regulations adopted by the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, the food control bodies in the country.

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