Statement follows ban on imports of vegetables and fruits from five countries earlier in the week
Following the decision to ban imports of vegetables and fruits from select countries, His Excellency Sultan bin Alwan Al Habsi, Assistant Under Secretary for Regions at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, stated that the decision comes as part of the Ministry's keenness to ensure the health and safety of consumers by confirming the entry of consignments that do not pose any danger to the public health.
He added: “This ban will not have any significant impact on the markets, both in terms of quantity or variety and the public need not be worried. There are many alternative sources from other countries and markets such as Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Netherlands, Malaysia, New Zealand, America, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey, France, Italy, and Spain, among others.”
He pointed out that local production contributes to the demand in the UAE markets. For example, the local production of zucchini has exceeded 18,500 tons and eggplants 18,555 tons. We also have abundant production of cauliflower that exceeds 11,320 tons and the cabbage which exceeded 13420 tons. The local production of pepper is 4,000 tons.
The existing products in the local markets are safe and do not pose direct threat to consumers’ health. The pesticide residues will not have effect unless the products containing residues are continuously kept for long time. The Ministry had decided to ban some vegetables and fruits from select countries as a proactive step and precautionary measure to avoid a potential future danger to the health of consumers without affecting the availability and prices of banned products.
The relevant ministries in these countries have also been asked to comply with the food safety standards adopted by the UAE. The ban on the above mentioned produce will continue until the necessary safety requirements are met and pesticide residues are cleared.
Through its sophisticated laboratories accredited by the British Commission for Accreditation (UKAS), the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment works relentlessly to analyze pesticide residues in all fresh produce and processed food in line with best international standards. Laboratories in the UAE have the capacity to analyze several samples simultaneously. By doing so, they save time in issuing the results and help in making prompt and appropriate decisions on consignments that violate safety rules and procedures.
Food safety is a core priority of the UAE's food security system. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment continues its efforts to provide healthy and safe food to consumers in line with global best practices and the objectives of the UAE National Agenda and the UAE Vision 2021. Enhancing food safety and sustaining local production are strategic priorities for MOCCAE. Furthermore, the Ministry is also keen to ensure that all foodstuffs and products in the country, both domestically produced and imported, are safe for consumption