Trading of safe food products in the UAE will get a boost with the authorities launching a federal online system for registering all food items being sold in the country. The new system will prevent illegal food trade, cut time and money spent for food import, reduce food wastage due to rejection at ports and unify and speed up recall of banned food items across the emirates, food safety experts said. The online system named ZAD was unveiled at the Gulfood 2018 exhibition by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Chairman of Dubai Municipality.
The web portal of ZAD, an initiative of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in association with Dubai Municipality, was launched at the municipality’s stand at Gulfood. Khalid Mohammad Sharif Al Awadi, assistant director general of Dubai Municipality for Environment, Health and Safety Sector, told Gulf News that the municipality has integrated its e-system Food Import and Reexport System (FIRS) with ZAD to expand the system at a federal level. “So, more than 600,000 food items are already registered with ZAD now.” He said the ministry is expected to soon make an announcement about making it mandatory to register all food products coming into all the emirates on the ZAD portal. “All food items being imported to the UAE for selling here or for re-exporting will have to be registered with this system. Food products produced locally should also be registered.”
With the federal level registration, Eman Al Bastaki, director of Food Safety Department at Dubai Municipality, said food products will no longer have to be registered separately in different emirates. “Food control authorities in each emirate will accept the applications for registration through the system. Once any of the food control body approves the products, they will be registered on the federal system under different categories. Trading companies will not have to seek registration and clearance from different emirates anymore.”