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UAE takes lead in setting food safety standards across Middle East region

posted on 23/09/2015: 3615 views



As nations across the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia (MEASA) region work to implement food safety standards through their respective food supply chains, the manufacturing, food processing, packaging and logistics sectors play a particularly important role in improving, supporting and driving quality control measures within their areas of expertise. With its strategic position as a key trading hub for the global food industry, Dubai is well placed to take the lead in improving and aligning food safety standards across the region.

Gulfood Manufacturing, the region's largest and most influential trade exhibition for the F&B manufacturing, processing and packaging industry will host more than 1,500 companies from around the world at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 27 – 29 October, with food safety a primary focus across the board. Alongside Gulfood Manufacturing, the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality with support from the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) and the Institute of Food Technologists will present the 10th Dubai International Food Safety Conference (25 – 28 October).

"There is no doubt that food safety is at the top of the agenda across the region – from the highest government levels through to agriculture, food production, processing and packaging, and down to the end consumer through hospitality and retail. International standards are not only recognised, they are becoming essential benchmarks, and Gulfood Manufacturing provides a valuable platform for businesses in the industry to highlight and showcase their capabilities, codes of conduct, and product development mapped against these food safety standards," said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice-President, Exhibitions and Events Division, DWTC.

The region's high reliance on imports and unprecedented population growth have led governments to encourage domestic and local food production. At the same time, a growing base of expatriates and educated young consumers is driving the need for accurate information about food quality, ingredients and nutrition and standards to give consumers confidence that products are following international safety and quality standards.

With food safety declared a top government priority, the UAE Federal National Council earlier this year passed a tough new federal law on food safety, to be enforced in all UAE territories. The 21-article bill regulates food production both inside the country and from imports and aims to tighten control on the food supply chain by using international best practices. At the same time, according to Alpen Capital Report 2015, the UAE government is working on the launch of a uniform system, Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, meant to improve and standardize food recall processes across the country – a system similar to that implemented in the European Union.

Both globalisation and the intensification of food trade and agriculture, are driving increasing awareness for standardization of food safety and quality practices at local, regional and global levels, which is key for consumer protection, food trade and economic development. Countries such as the UAE are taking the lead in advancing international food safety standards across the region, which will have a positive impact not only on consumer confidence, but on the region's overall competitiveness and food security ranking.

Underscoring the unprecedented emphasis on food safety at a global level, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month took one of the most significant steps in decades to prevent foodborne illness by finalizing the first two of seven major rules under the bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This the first step in putting greater emphasis on the prevention of foodborne illness, holding imported food to the same food safety standard as domestically produced food, and developing a nationally integrated food safety system in partnership with state and local authorities.

Another signal the food safety is a major concern at a global level and undergoes important changes is the revision of the ISO 22000 currently underway, addressing the food safety management system, with the draft version available for purchase from mid-2016. The final version, expected to be ready in early 2017, will address several key concepts that need further clarification and simplify standards, making it more coherent and easier to use.

The knowledge and resources provided by an event the stature of Gulfood Manufacturing are essential for policy-makers and companies looking to explore the latest innovations boosting ROI, streamline business processes and evolve business models while maintaining high safety standards and avoiding food safety related incidents that could have a devastating impact on the business and public health.

Gulfood Manufacturing will host three conferences this year: Next Generation Manufacturing (October 27), F&B Innovation (October 28-29) and Food Logistics (October 28), bringing together leaders in food logistics, manufacturing and processing sectors to address challenges, trends and opportunities in making food safety a priority. Eng. Mohammed Albastaki, CEO of Dubai Trade, Dr. Hashim Saeed Al Nuami, Director, Department of Consumer Protection, Ministry of Economy UAE, Ahsan S. Razzaq, General Manager, Corporate Supply Chain & QHSE, Olayan Financing Company, and Dr. Frederic Aymes, Head of Quality Management, Nestle Middle East are among the speakers.

More than 30,000 trade professionals are expected to attend Gulfood Manufacturing to gain direct and convenient access to companies providing products, equipment, expertise and services that hold food safety at their core. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395285913150.html

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