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UAE: Food summit focuses on innovations, emerging start-ups, reducing food wastage

'Food for Life' campaign holds panel discussion on sustainable food practices



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File

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Wed 23 Feb 2022, 8:57 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Feb 2022, 11:21 PM

In order to raise awareness on sustainable food practices, a panel discussion was held as a part of the recently launched ‘Food for Life’ campaign, under the Food for Future Summit held at the Expo 2020 Dubai.

The agenda of the summit was to discuss agri-tech innovations, emerging start-ups, reduction in food wastage, food safety and nutrition, food risks and crisis management.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention collaborated with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Emirates Nature-WWF and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations to shed some light on the same.

Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment kicked off the discussion by speaking of living in the UAE, she said, “living in a country that imports most of its food is a big change for us to start questioning where the food is coming from”.

“We can actively contribute to transformation of our diet and food systems for better and healthier tomorrow,” Almheiri added.

She also highlighted the need to support locally produced products, as the quality of the product can be guaranteed.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention emphasized on the impact of processed food which contains large quantities of salt and sugar.

Nouf Khamis Al Ali, Deputy Director of the Health Education & Promotion Department, Ministry of Health and Prevention touched upon reducing the consumption of animal-based foods and increasing the amount of plant-based foods in our diet. Plant-based foods offer both environmental and health benefits.

“We know that cardiovascular disease and cholesterol is very high in the UAE. But if we shift the way people are eating, and reduce the consumption of red meat, we will be able to fight many diseases and various health related issues,” Al Ali said.

Leslie Amoroso, Programme Officer, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations spoke on the benefits of sustainable diets.

Amaroso urged others to consume sustainably sourced food as it has a low environmental impact. This in turn, will contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations.

“Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable, nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy while optimising natural and human resources.”

“A sustainable food system delivers food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations, is not compromised,” she added.

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Other speakers at the panel consisted of Jennifer J Croes, Conservation Scientist, Associate Director, Campaign Lead, Emirates Nature- WWF and Fatema Al Mulla, Director, Partnerships & Special Projects Department, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

Food for Life is a bold, first-of-its-kind initiative, to bring health, nutrition and global well-being together through a community engagement campaign on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The campaign supports the UAE’s vision to become a global leader on the journey to a healthy diet using a sustainable food system, by creating awareness and outreach opportunities with the UAE.


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