Early this week, all GCC media covered the latest move of the Government of the UAE banning all fruit and vegetable imports form selected countries. These happened to be those of the neighbouring Middle Eastern countries of Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen where trading their agricultural products must represent good earnings.
The pretext of such a decision is to protect the UAE’s populations from pesticides contaminated fruits and vegetables. The Government maintains that the said countries affected by the ban must submit certificates documenting all their products were free of pesticide residues prior for imports to resume and that they would be required to comply with the UAE’s standards of food safety.
At the same time, the continuing violence in Yemen seems to be fuelling one of the most incredible in this day and age famine with millions either malnourished or starving of hunger and thirst.
Ban covers certain produce from Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen that contain higher level of pesticides
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has banned imports of certain vegetables and fruits from select countries with effect from May 15 as those products have been found to contain pesticide residues in excess of permissible limits.
The counties that will be impacted by the ban include Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen.
The maximum permitted levels of pesticide residues in foods are stipulated by regulatory bodies in the UAE.
Exposure of the general population to such residues most commonly occurs through the consumption of treated food sources.
All varieties of pepper from Egypt, pepper, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, squash, beans and eggplant from Jordan, apples from Lebanon, melons, carrots and watercress from Oman and all types of fruit from Yemen are on the list of banned produce.
The countries impacted by the ban have been requested to provide a certificate of analysis of pesticide residues for all other vegetables and fruits stating that they are free of such residues as of May 15, 2017.
The relevant ministries in these countries have also been asked to comply with the food safety standards adopted by the UAE.
The ban on the above mentioned produce will continue until the necessary safety requirements are met and pesticide residues are cleared.
Through its sophisticated laboratories accredited by the British Commission for Accreditation (UKAS), the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment works relentlessly to analyze pesticide residues in all fresh produce and processed food in line with best international standards.
Food safety is a core priority of the UAE’s food security system.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment continues its efforts to provide healthy and safe food to consumers in line with global best practices and the objectives of the UAE National Agenda and the UAE Vision 2021.
Enhancing food safety and sustaining local production are strategic priorities for MOCCAE. Furthermore, the Ministry is also keen to ensure that all foodstuffs and products in the country, both domestically produced and imported, are safe for consumption.