In This Issue of the Zone, We Speak to Mr. Sultan Al Tahir, Head of the Food Inspection Section at the Food Safety Department of Dubai Municipality, About the Strategic Food Safety Law and Food Security Within the UAE.
The Zone: Can you explain how the Strategic Food Security Law will affect and assist manufacturers and suppliers? What new obligations will they need to meet?
Al Tahir: The Strategic Food Security Law will result in yield improvement from new technology-enabled production and also increase the production of select strategic food items that will boost the business volume of the manufacturers and suppliers.
The Zone: How will Dubai Municipality enforce this new law?
Tahir: Dubai Municipality will enforce this new law by guiding and providing awareness about the Strategic Food Security Law to food establishments, as well as by conducting inspection visits to ensure that they are complying with the requirements.
The Zone: How will Dubai Municipality continue to ensure that food safety requirements are applied during the receiving of materials, the preparation and storage of food, display at a healthy temperature, and hygiene and sterilization procedures to prevent cross-contamination and pest control.
Tahir: Dubai Municipality will continue to ensure that by conducting frequent inspection visits to the food establishments, in addition to enforcing the implementation of approved food safety systems in large food businesses, such as hotels, catering and manufacturing. We plan to enforce this in the small food business sector in the not too distant future.
The Zone: How difficult is it to keep improving standards, but maintaining fair prices for the consumer?
Tahir: It’s not difficult when we have the National Food Security Strategy and a high standard of food safety, as that ensures the availability of safe food with competition in prices that result in fair prices for the consumers.
This pandemic has demonstrated that the UAE is ready with good food security to face any changes that may happen due to emergencies or crises
The Zone: Dubai’s external food trade volumes in the first half of this year reached nine million tonnes, representing AED32 billion in total, while Dubai’s food imports touched AED22 billion – do you think that local production will continue to increase over the next few years?
Tahir: The National Food Security Strategy enhances sustainable technology-enabled domestic food supply across the value chain that will increase local production and reduce the quantities of imported food.
The Zone: The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the importance of food security into sharp focus – do you believe that this crisis can ultimately have positive repercussions for the food sector, and why?
Al Tahir: This pandemic has demonstrated that the UAE is ready with good food security to face any changes that may happen due to emergencies or crises, and it allowed us to make any improvements we may need in the future to ensure the sustainability of the food supply. The positive repercussions for the food sector are reflected in the lessons learned from the challenges that have arisen during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Strategic Food Security Law will result in yield improvement from new technology enabled production