The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has spent 1842 hours for various kinds of awareness activities took place in 2017. Through a total number of 305 activities on food safety, livestock and agriculture in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the authority reached out to tens of thousands of students, consumers, and visitors of various festivals and events held throughout the year across the emirate. Moreover, the authority further targeted its staff through organising internal awareness activities. The activities reflected ADFCA's keenness to raise awareness among various segments in the society on food safety and areas of the authority's work.
Thamer Al Qasemi, the spokesperson of ADFCA, said: "This year has witnessed a wide diversity in the presented activities and topics to cover different strata of society, as well as meeting the need of the target audiences and food sectors, to ensure optimal access to all segments across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He added the activities stemmed from the authority's belief in the importance of its awareness and oversight role to attain food safety and agricultural sustainability.
"The authority's activities included 932 hours aimed at raising awareness and educating public about the safe agricultural and food practices through 150 different activities. While the authority spent 145 hours for community activities through organizing 43 events and 356 hours for awareness during 26 non-inspection awareness campaigns. Besides, ADFCA has spent 409 awareness hours in 86 internal awareness activities," said Al Qasemi.
He pointed out this year's awareness activities aimed to raise awareness on the safety of food, livestock, agriculture, as well as educating the public about the authority's researches and efforts. He further added these activities come in line with ADFCA's framework to highlight its role as a control authority dealing with food safety, in educating public and executing its mission to promote safe agricultural and food practices through comprehensive and effective programs that could cover various social strata, as well as correcting their wrong practices and providing latest knowledge on how to handle food throughout the food chain safely.
Al Qasemi clarified ADFCA managed to spend 1842 hours for awareness in 2017, with 44% increase of the set awareness hours, due to the increased demands on awareness-raising activities by the Department of Education and Knowledge, neighborhood councils and partners. Terming it as a significant achievement considering the government services in the awareness and education, Al Qasemi stressed it will boost ADFCA's journey towards excellence and will bring in promising results in the food safety levels of the emirate.
According to him, the success of the authority's programs came as a result of its efforts to raise the society's awareness on areas of food, agriculture and livestock. He added ADFCA also organises such activities to meet the desire of the community institutions, particularly schools, to host awareness programs provided by the authority's staff.
This year, ADFCA organized 305 activities, including awareness campaigns during the holy month of Ramadan, aimed at raising awareness of the public on safe food handling practices and to inculcate in them the culture of giving priority to safety and health while purchasing, preparing, transporting and storing food products. During hajj season, ADFCA organized another campaign, in cooperation with Awqaaf, to ensure the safety of the pilgrims' food during the hajj.
In 2017, the authority took part in the national festivals and events, such as Abu Dhabi Science Festival. During the festival, ADFCA presented "Junior Analyst" workshop to over 3000 students, in which the participants were introduced to the laboratory tools, ways to use them in the analysis process, as well as the safety measures must be taken to protect the analyst. The workshop aimed to raise awareness of students on the importance of veterinary science, as well as educating them about the common diseases between humans and animals and ways to prevent them.
The authority also participated in Zayed Heritage Festival, in which visitors received awareness and education on food safety as well as good agriculture practices through ADFCA's stand in the festival known as Agriculture Oasis. During the festival, ADFCA's staff organized interactive competitions and distributed publications and giveaways to the visitors.
ADFCA also carried out a number of field visits for school students targeted several food facilities and markets, through which students were briefed on stages of food processing, its sterilization and preparation, and how to identify the validity of food items. In addition, the authority distributed guidance and awareness leaflets on several schools, as well as launching many field trips for students to its agricultural research stations.
This year's activities included a campaign for desert goers, another one on agricultural waste and ways for its safe disposal, and a campaign on fish markets in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to preserve fish varieties such as Safi and Sheri. The authority also launched a campaign to raise the consumers' awareness on safe storage of food, which received wide popular attention, and a campaign to prevent communicable diseases targeted all segments of society and workers in agricultural establishments and slaughterhouses.
These activities are part of the authority's plans aimed to disseminate food awareness among various sectors in the society, strengthen the food safety system in the UAE, as well as maintaining consumer safety.