Dubai has imported four million tonnes of food products in the first half of the year.
There are 20,158 registered food items and 335 companies involved in the food trade here, latest statistics from the Dubai Municipality said.
According to a statement issued by the Food Control Department of the Municipality, the half-yearly report issued by the Food Trade Control Section said that the number of companies registered and trained to use the electronic importing and exporting system during the first half of 2011 reached 335. The total number of food items recorded in the same system reached 20,158 items.
Khalid Mohammed Sherif Al Awadhi, Director of Food Control Department, said that the amount of imported food since the beginning of the year 2011 to June has reached about four million tonnes. More than 160 countries import food to Dubai. The amount of food imported via Dubai increased from 4.3 million tonnes in 2009 to approximately six million tonnes in 2010. Quoting the report, Al Awadhi said 80,912 kilograms of food items were destroyed while 98,787 kilograms of food items were released on conditions. “The food imported for the purpose of re-exporting reached 121,576 kilograms,” he said.
“This huge amount of food requires the application of electronic control systems to ensure smooth movement of food trade focusing on food safety and quality. The municipality has developed one of the best control programmes in the world where accurate statistics used in the development of strategies for food safety in Dubai can be obtained. The number of food establishments in the emirate rose by 17.1 per cent in 2010, by 13,762 compared to 11,752 in 2009,” he added.
Head of Food Trade Section, Iman Al Bastaki, cited several reasons for rejecting food shipments or preventing them from passing through the ports of the emirate. The most important reason, she noted, is prohibition of any of the food products by the Ministry of Environment and Water, especially if they are imported from countries where there is an outbreak of any epidemics or diseases.
“It is necessary to conduct laboratory tests on all shipments of imported food of all kinds, and separate the good food from the bad,” Al Bastaki said.
“The municipality is also working to prevent the entry of unacceptable shipments such as rotten products or those damaged as a result of accumulation of goods during shipping from the exporting country. Shipments are also rejected if the documents submitted are not compatible with the imported product,” she noted.
The department obliges responsible individuals to re-export rejected shipments to the country of origin in case of large quantities. If the quantity is small, she said, the shipment will be destroyed in the port of Jebel Ali.