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Food Safety Sector

Food Safety Sector (FSS) is one of the most important sectors of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority(ADFCA) which has been established in 2005 based on law number (2) 2005. The FSS is authorized with the task of enforcing laws and regulation pertaining to food safety in Abu Dhabi Emirate, in collaboration with concerned stakeholders.

The sector includes 4 divisions:

  • Field Operation Division (Abu Dhabi)
  • Laboratories Division
  • Al Ain Branch Division
  • Western region Branch Division

The FSS contributes to the achievement of ADFCA’s vision of becoming an internationally recognized authority in the field of agriculture and food safety, and contributes to the implementation of ADFCA’s mission of sustainable development in the fields of agriculture and food safety, in order to provide safe food to the community through the promotion of sound food safety practices and awareness programs that are carried out by inspectors in the course of their inspection duties throughout the food chain.

The sector works constantly to develop clear and transparent control mechanisms and procedures that are aligned with the aspirations of the Abu Dhabi government to secure and guarantee the safety of locally produced and imported food supplies, according to the specifications and standards adopted in UAE. The FSS operates through the risk-based system (RBS) of food inspection in addition to implementation of Regulation No. (6), year 2010 (Food Hygiene throughout the Food Chain) which requires that food establishments apply the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system to ensure food safety in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Among efforts to promote excellence in inspection services, the Field Operation Division has completed the requirement for the international accreditation in the field of Food Inspection (ISO 17020). Once accredited ADFCA would be included among the few accredited international food inspection bodies.

The sector also monitors and organizes a training program for food handlers (EFST) with aims to improve food safety in food premises and guarantees the food safety and hygiene throughout the food chain. The EFST program also includes counseling and awareness programs pertaining to food safety.

FSS constantly seeks to provide the best services to its strategic partners (food establishments and the public) through modern electronic settings. Examples of such services include: export certificates, permits for promotional campaigns, , complaints against food establishments, as well as complaints against services provided by inspectors or employees of the sector..

The FSS has a positive contribution in the prevention of food poisoning, as food inspectors, in the course of routine inspection visits, conduct food safety and hygiene awareness sessions for employees in food establishments including hygienic requirements for food processing, display and transportation. FSS inspectors also supervise the destruction of unfit food and the recall food items that are incompliant with regulations and standards.

The FSS implements the Rapid Alert System (RAS) for food safety, in coordination with the Policy and Regulation Sector .The RAS aims at facilitating and accelerating the exchange of information between countries in respect of notifications related to unfit or hazardous food in order to take necessary preventive measures against the entry or distribution of food items that are potentially hazardous to consumers..

The FSS boasts internationally recognized, UKAS accredited, ISO 17025-certified food laboratories that are qualified to carry out efficient, and quality-based food testing in accordance with good management and laboratory practices.

The FSS laboratories carry out tests and surveys to ensure the safety and quality of food products .The analysis includes physical, chemical and microbiological testing. Examples of chemical testing include testing food for pesticides, heavy metals, additives, radiation, and mycotoxins. Microbiological testing includes analysis of food for pathogenic and food spoilage bacteria, fungi and yeasts. Currently the laboratories are developing methods to detect bacterial toxins in food.

ADFCA Food laboratories are among the lead laboratories in the region. It has highly skilled staff and modern sophisticated equipments. The following are examples of some advanced tests that reflect the capability of ADFCA food laboratories:

  • Detection of melamine contaminated infant formula.
  • Analysis of endophyte fungal toxins in animal feed.
  • DNA testing to detect genetically modified foods.
  • Examination of DNA for the detection of fraud in meat mix made of different animal meat species. The technology used includes DNA Chip Technology with sensitivity up to less than the 10 nanograms of DNA.
  • Detection of aduleration in honey using several new techniques including the analysis of stable isotopes of carbon, analysis of radioactive isotope of potassium-40 and analysis of water-insoluble solids .
  • Extraction of DNA from marshmallow candy samples for pork derivatives detection ( Marshmallow is among the most difficult food matrices with respect to extraction of genetic material).

New, up-to-date analytical techniques are continuously being introduced using the latest cutting edge technology available to keep pace with the global developments in specialized food laboratories.

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