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Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Codex in UAE


By Khadija Qalandari, Acting, Head of Technical Follow-up Standard Specifications Section, UAE


The UAE National Codex Committee (NCC), led by the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), in coordination with the Ministry of Industry and Higher Technology (CCP), organised a scientific workshop to mark the 60th anniversary of the first meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). The workshop was held to review the work of Codex and highlight its role in the development of international standards. The audience of the workshop included representatives of the NCC and members of the technical teams, as well as guests from various stakeholder groups related to food safety, consumer health and trade.

The opening session was followed by a recorded speech by her Excellency Dr Farah Ali Al Zarooni, Assistant Undersecretary of the Standards and Regulations Sector at the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), who highlighted how the Ministry's pioneering role in developing standards is the cornerstone of a robust quality infrastructure, fostering trust and confidence. She further recalled that, in recognition of the strategic importance of the food sector within the “300 billion Project”, MoIAT was working side by side with federal and local government entities, as well as the private sector, to issue and approve standards, regulations and decisions that enable its growth. Dr. Farah Ali Al Zarooni stressed that the NCC of UAE, with its diverse expertise, also supported these efforts by aligning food industry standards with the latest international standards, improving quality and safety throughout the production chain by enhancing technology and innovation, and increasing consumer confidence and competitiveness.

Her Excellency Mouza Suhail Al Muhairi, Chair of the NCC, Deputy Director General for Regulatory and Administrative Affairs at ADAFSA, stressed the importance of the UAE's active role in the CAC's activities at the international and Middle East levels. This included participating in the drafting of food safety texts within the subsidiary bodies of CAC, as well as implementing the necessary standards and procedures to ensure the quality and safety of food consumed in the country. She also noted that the UAE also exchanged knowledge and expertise and promotes international cooperation to address food challenges and provide food in a sustainable and equitable manner.

In her opening address to the workshop, Mouza Suhail Al Muhairi highlighted that the UAE's pivotal role in international trade and its significant re-export activity significantly increased the responsibilities of the National Committee for Food Standards. These responsibilities were aimed at enhancing economic activity and improving the quality of life, particularly in relation to agrifood systems, including compliance with food specifications, protecting consumer health and envisioning the future of food. In addition to adopting scientific methodologies and approaches this approach can provide innovative and proactive solutions to the challenges of sustainable development in the agriculture, food and food industry sectors, as well as meeting the aspirations of our wise leadership to transform the UAE into a global centre for food trade and achieve sustainable food security that will support the country's efforts to top the global food security index by 2051.

Mouza Suhail Al Muhairi also pointed out that since its establishment in 2020 under the chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, the NCC has been exerting all efforts to consolidate the UAE's position in this field and to enhance cooperation with the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and the Near East Committee in order to meet the expectations of manufacturers, producers and consumers within the framework of the commitment to facilitate trade exchanges with different countries of the world, ensure the entry of safe and high quality food products to consumers in the country and achieve sustainable food security. On this occasion, she thanked all members of the NCC, colleagues participating in the working groups and representatives of the food industry from the private sector.

Mouza Suhail Al Muhairi concluded her intervention by stressing that the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Codex Alimentarius Commission provided a valuable opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the work of Codex and its prominent role in supporting the economies of countries and their food security. It also provided an opportunity to highlight the milestones of the NCC and to discuss mechanisms to enhance participation in CAC's meetings at the regional and international levels.

While participating in the workshop, Dr Khaled Al-Zahrani, Regional Coordinator of the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for the Near East (CCNE), highlighted the pioneering role of UAE in promoting food safety and consumer health through the efforts of the NCC, which supported the food safety system at the regional level through active participation in Codex periodic meetings, scientific seminars and lectures.


Photo credit © UAE National Codex Committee