Upon the invitation from the GCC general secretariat, The GCC level committee formed to draft provisions for the proposed Unified GCC Food law that would be applied in all member countries, has met recently in Abu Dhabi to discuss a range of topics pertaining to the provisions.
Apart from representatives of GCC secretariat, representatives of member countries such as KSA, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and UAE attended the meeting . Officials from Ministry of Environment & Water and Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) represented the UAE in the discussions.
The GCC level committee was formed in line with the decisions taken in the GCC Ministerial Committee For Food Safety which held its first meeting at the GCC Head Quarters in KSA last September.
While delivering the inaugural address, Executive Director of Policy & Regulation Sector at ADFCA, Dr. Mariam Hareb Al-Yousuf highlighted the importance of including the detailed provisions in the proposed GCC executive regulation as it serves as an interpretation and explanation to the provisions stipulated under the Unified GCC Food law which was developed by GCC Food Safety Council earlier. It was also approved by the members of GCC Ministerial Committee For Food Safety to be the guiding source while drafting the executive regulations.
Dr. Mariam explained, the task of drafting the proposed GCC executive regulation has many reflections of which the commitment towards supporting each and every step to strengthen and expand the cooperation between the GCC member countries comes first.
"Any regulation pertaining to the food sector need to be based on the approved international best practices so that both public and private players comprehend them easily. It should be fool proof and sustainable with no loop left for any risk or negative effect on the economic or social aspects in connection with food. In this regard, drafting of the proposed GCC executive regulation will further interpret and detail the provisions given in the Unified GCC Food Law to ensure the envisioned objectives are duly attained" she added.
According to her the new GCC executive regulation that has been developed in the shade of the Unified GCC Food Law and based on the scientific principles key to ensure food safety of imported products or the items which are handled in the local GCC markets in addition to prevention of food-borne diseases and other health risks.
It also contains requirements and conditions to get licenses for practicing food business, requirements for food business operators registration, commitments to be abided by facilities to ensure safety of food items prepared for human consumption in addition to the provisions to check fraudulence and trade of harmful or spoiled food products.
Other main features of the executive regulations will be the focus on the system to organize the follow up and recall activities for violated products as well as the directions to the controlling bodies to follow risk analysis systems in their control activities.
The delegates expressed their gratitude towards the UAE in general and towards ADFCA in particular for hosting the discussions and stressed the need to expand the span of cooperation between the GCC countries to unify food regulations and systems for a better food sector in the region.