New UAE food safety laws expected by early 2025, says environment ministry

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File photo of fresh produce in Abu Dhabi
Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) plans to launch a new system for the control and inspection of food products in the UAE by early 2025.

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The Ministry said it is coordinating with the National Food Safety Committee, formed by the MOCCAE, to study the issuance of a package of new legislation to unify and strengthen control over food products and regulate their circulation in the country. MOCCAE has informed the Federal National Council about the plan in a parliamentary report.

The report explained that the Ministry worked in coordination with the National Food Safety Committee to study the issuance of a package of new legislation, including: regulating the circulation of new food items as “under preparation,” the National System for Control and Inspection of Imported Food as “prepared,” and the National System for Control and Inspection of Food Traded in the UAE as “under preparation”.

The ministry said: “This type of activity essentially ensures consumer safety, and this type of activity is licensed through the relevant authorities in each emirate, represented by the economic departments. E-commerce activity is also controlled through the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, and the necessary measures are taken against everyone who violates the terms and requirements of this activity.”

MOCCAE is currently establishing a special system for monitoring and inspecting food and its facilities within the country in accordance with Clause 5 of Article 5 of Federal Law No. 10 of 2015 regarding food safety.

The Ministry added: “It is expected that the new regulatory system will be launched at the beginning of next year, as it will depend on a system of inspection frequency, according to the classification and levels of risk of the [food] facility’s activity, noting that tables have been prepared for the regulatory system, in accordance with what is applied by the competent local authorities, such as the RBS system in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, the Raqeeb smart inspection system in the emirate of Ajman, and the food safety system in the Emirate of Dubai.”

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Criminal procedures

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment clarified that it or the competent authority, as the case may be, may in the event that any food establishment commits a violation of any of the provisions of the Food Safety Law or its executive regulations, take a number of penal measures such as “warning, temporary closure, and final closure” without prejudice to any administrative procedure or any penalty stipulated in the relevant legislation, noting that the articles of the law also regulate the facility’s right to appeal the decision issued for temporary or final closure.