Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) launched on Wednesday, April 25, 2013, its initiative to implement the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) in the catering sector. This was done during a workshop organized by ADFCA at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the presence of HE Rashed Mohamed Al Shariqi, Director General of ADFCA, HE Mohamed Hilal Al Muhairi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, HE Dr. Mariam Harib Al Yousuf, Executive Director of Policy and Regulation sector at ADFCA, HE Mouza Al Muhairi, Executive Director of Food Safety sector at ADFCA and around 500 representatives from the private sector.
HE Rashid Al Shariqi stressed that the initiative was aimed at providing support to the private sector to meet the legislative requirements for the food safety management systems, based on the principles of HACCP, in order to strengthen food safety standards in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and provide safe food to the public.
His Excellency clarified that the conduct of the interactive workshop with stakeholders embodied the consistent efforts of ADFCA to implement the integrated communication plan to liaise with the strategic stakeholders through transparent channels in order to involve them in the Authority's work and to seek their constructive inputs to enrich the futuristic vision of ADFCA aimed at protecting the health of the consumer in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The Director General said: "The work plan of the project was based on pioneering international best practices that are consistent with the policy and legislative framework of the country. A team of qualified officials, in association with local and international experts and with the participation of the private sector, worked on the project. The project is in line with the principal governmental outcomes of the Government of Abu Dhabi that ADFCA is entrusted to execute. It comprises guaranteeing a safe food safety and food supply, in addition to sustainable development for the agriculture sector. It has set the standards that are conducive to achieving the vision of the Authority to become an internationally recognized organization in the field of food safety and agriculture, contributing to the well being of the society."
His Excellency concluded saying that the Authority viewed optimistically and confidently the future of cooperation and partnership with the public and private sectors in the emirate and the ability of both the sectors to build a model of advanced interface that will contribute to developing integrated monitoring systems for food inspections.
His Excellency Mohamed Hilal Al Muhairi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the workshop focused on the benefits of HACCP for both food safety and for the food establishments. "No doubt that the quality and safety of food is a red line that no one should cross. HACCP is one of the most important set of practices that food establishments should implement to ensure food safety and compliance with global health standards," he added.
His Excellency pointed out that the positive results achieved by HACCP made it an approved yardstick across global bodies for attaining food safety. "This is due to the fact that it focuses on preemption by identifying the risks pertaining to food safety and the critical points of mandatory control during the various stages of food preparation, instead of focusing on post-production. This makes the implementation of the system a preventive and controlling practice at the same time," he explained.
He opined that, in view of the increase in the number of food establishments and the workers, the implementation of HACCP would strengthen the consumers' confidence in food products and reduce the chances of recall, while also facilitating exports to international markets.
HE Dr. Mariam Al Yousuf elaborated the main highlights of HACCP system and its requirements from the catering sector, in addition to its importance across the food chain and the need for putting in place precautionary measures to guarantee food safety. "These measures are crucial for implementing food safety systems. A number of practice guides have been prepared on HACCP for medium-sized and bigger catering companies, along with the implementation plan. This is in addition to launching the food safety system for smaller catering companies named Salaamat Zadina (the safety of our food). Salaamat zadina comprises sound operational practices for the companies, along with a diary for documenting information on the company," she added.
A plan for implementation of the system also has been prepared. This system is a pioneering one in the sense that it depends principally on pictures rather than on text with a view to overcome the linguistic hurdles due to the low educational standards among food handlers in smaller establishments. ADFCA will provide all support to the small establishments to help them meet the legal requirements for the food safety management systems.
ADFCA's HACCP team presented in detail all the procedural and operational aspects of the HACCP and Salaamat zadina systems, besides the implementation plan. A number of representatives of private sector establishments also took part in the discussions, articulating their views and opinions on the system and expressing the optimism that the system will help improve food safety in their companies.