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Dubai Probes ‘Adulteration’ in Some Indian Spice Brands: What's in Food Code 2023?

The Dubai Food Code aims to ensure a higher degree of compliance with food regulations

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Rakeshh Kumar SV

Published on May 8, 2024, 09:30:30

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dubai muncipality, indian spice brands, adulteration in food, food safety in uae, consumer protection

Amidst concerns over the safety and integrity of food products, Dubai Municipality has launched an investigation into allegations of adulteration within certain Indian spice brands.

With the reputation of Dubai's food industry at stake, authorities are taking swift action to address these claims and uphold the city's stringent food safety standards.

This article explores the implications of the investigation, highlighting the municipality's commitment to ensuring the quality and authenticity of food products available in the region.

Dubai Food Code 2023

In Dubai, food-related laws and regulations are overseen by the Dubai Municipality. The municipality has published a document called the Dubai Food Code, which provides guidelines and regulations for food safety and hygiene.

The Food Code aims to ensure a higher degree of compliance with food regulations and achieve a higher standard of food safety. It covers various aspects such as food handling, storage, transportation, labelling and food premises hygiene. It also provides guidance for imported and exported food products.

Richard Sprenger, Chairman and food safety expert of the Highfield Group, highlights on his LinkedIn post that “the Dubai Food Code 2023 contributes to improving global food safety”.

Federal Law No. 10 of 2015 on Food Safety

This law represents a vital framework aimed at protecting public health and the well-being of consumers, enforcing stringent standards, and imposing strict penalties on those who endanger food safety across the country.

Key Aspects of the Federal Law on Food Safety

Approval for Import: The law mandates that no food may be imported into the country for the first time without the approval of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. This essential requirement serves as a crucial measure in regulating the entry of food products into the UAE, ensuring their compliance with quality and safety standards.

Prohibition of Certain Food Products

Individuals or entities involved in the distribution or sale of food products containing pork, alcohol, or any of their by-products without proper permission face serious repercussions.

The law stipulates a prison term of not less than a month and a fine of up to Dh500,000, emphasising the strict enforcement to safeguard against the unauthorized circulation of these prohibited items.

Consumer Protection Measures

Stringent measures are in place to prevent the misleading of consumers, including the publishing of false descriptions of food or the use of incorrect labels.

Violations of these provisions carry fines ranging from Dh10,000 to 100,000, aiming to maintain transparency and accuracy in product information for the benefit of consumers.

Regulatory Oversight

The law grants the Ministry of Economy the authority to impose fines of up to Dh100,000 for other offenses, provided that these offenses are regulated by the Cabinet.

This regulatory oversight underscores the commitment to upholding food safety standards and swiftly addressing any breaches, preserving the integrity of the food industry in the UAE.

Investigation on Indian Spice Brands

The discovery of Indian spice brands exceeding permissible ethylene oxide levels has raised significant concerns over food safety and quality control measures within the industry.

Ethylene oxide is classified as a potential carcinogen by various international health organisations, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Several countries have detected and reported the presence of elevated ethylene oxide levels in spice products imported from India. This has led to product recalls, import bans and increased scrutiny of Indian spice brands in various markets.

Countries have stringent regulations governing food safety standards, and non-compliance can result in severe penalties for the companies involved.

Consumers are being advised to exercise caution and check the source and quality of the spices they purchase, especially those originating from India.

It is recommended to rely on reputable brands that adhere to rigorous quality control measures and have a proven track record of complying with international food safety regulations.

The Indian government, along with relevant authorities, is taking this matter seriously and has initiated investigations to identify the root causes of the issue. Efforts are being made to strengthen regulations and enhance monitoring systems to ensure the safety of spices exported from India.

In response to these findings, Indian spice manufacturers are urged to implement rigorous quality control measures to prevent the presence of harmful substances in their products.

This includes regular testing and analysis of raw materials, enhanced supplier audits and strict monitoring of manufacturing processes to minimise the risk of contamination.

International cooperation and collaboration between countries are crucial in addressing this issue effectively. It is essential for countries to share information and best practices to ensure the safety and well-being of consumers across borders.

Stay Informed

As consumers, it is vital to stay informed and make educated choices when it comes to food purchases. Checking product labels, seeking information about the source and manufacturing processes, and reporting any suspicious findings to relevant authorities play a crucial role in maintaining food safety standards.

The revelation that Indian spice brands have surpassed ethylene oxide limits is a stark reminder for the industry to make consumer safety a top priority and to comply with international food safety standards.

Governments, industry stakeholders and consumers must work together to establish robust systems that guarantee the highest standards of food safety and protect public health.

Conclusion

Dubai Municipality's proactive investigation into allegations of adulteration within certain Indian spice brands underscores the emirate's commitment to upholding rigorous food safety standards.

By addressing these claims, the municipality aims to ensure the integrity and quality of food products available in the region. Such measures not only protect consumer health but also contribute to the broader goal of enhancing global food safety standards.

As authorities continue to monitor and regulate the food industry, stakeholders, including businesses, consumers and regulatory bodies, must remain vigilant in their efforts to maintain trust and confidence in the food supply chain.

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