The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), the body responsible for food safety and agriculture in the emirate, has declared the local retail and wholesale market free from any horsemeat.
The emirate’s food safety regulator confirmed this status after conducting a comprehensive market survey. The survey was carried out after the regulator received alerts from WHO’s International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) on food safety and presence of products that violate safety standards. The body actively monitors and, if needed, takes remedial measures to address any violations of food safety. The UAE maintains a strict food safety regime as authorities are required to approve all food items stocked in the UAE retail sector.
The alerts were in response to the European Union decision to test products for the presence of unlabelled horsemeat in foods across the continent. The tests will also be conducted for the presence of residues of the drug phenylbutazone, used on horses but banned from entering the food chain. Last month, authorities in Ireland found horsemeat in beef burgers stocked in some of the UK’s largest retailers. The finding raised several concerns on the flaws in food safety controls and led to calls for tests across Europe.
Last week, Fine Fare Food Market, which operates Spinneys and Waitrose supermarkets in the UAE, stated that it would be running DNA tests on its frozen beef products. The tests will be conducted to reassure customers about the safety of the stocked beef products. According to Spinneys and Waitrose, none of their frozen beef products suppliers have been implicated in the European food safety scandal. Similar tests in Britain have led to withdrawal of meat products as some of the beef products contained as much as 100 percent horsemeat.