As part of its ongoing commitment to bolstering food safety in the emirate, Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) conducted more than 103,000 inspection visits during 2023, covering all food establishments within the emirate. These visits resulted in 3,391 violations and 27,895 warnings.

Abu Dhabi City accounted for more than half of the inspection visits conducted last year, with approximately 63,690 visits, compared to 29,583 in Al Ain City and 9,998 in the Al Dhafra Region.

The announcement coincides with the celebration of World Food Safety Day on 7 June each year. This year's theme, Be Prepared for the Unexpected, highlights ADAFSA's ongoing efforts to ensure food safety in the emirate and raise awareness about the importance of following proper food safety practices.

ADAFSA reaffirmed its commitment to providing safe and healthy food for the Abu Dhabi community. This is achieved by adopting effective regulatory systems and comprehensive awareness programmes in agriculture and food, based on international best practices and risk analysis principles, contributing to the wellbeing and safety of the community.

The authority noted that the implementation of its smart inspection system, which utilises artificial intelligence and GPS technology to locate food establishments, has successfully facilitated more than 490,000 inspection visits since its launch to carry out daily field tasks for food inspection. The application automatically schedules inspections, provides contact information for relevant stakeholders, allows access to the historical record of the establishment, enables photography and attachment of documents, and shares the final inspection report with the customer via email or phone.

The Zadna Rating application, launched by ADAFSA to share food establishment assessment results with the public, has seen a significant increase in the number of participating food establishments, reaching more than 9,000 in Abu Dhabi. This has contributed to an increase in the compliance rate of food establishments by more than 73 per cent. The application allows consumers to view the assessment results of food establishments based on their level of food safety, in addition to a separate assessment of the establishment's participation in the Sehhi programme of the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC).

ADAFSA has highlighted its efforts within the Unified Control Project in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, the first project of its kind in the Middle East, involving 10 Abu Dhabi Government entities. The project aims to unify the efforts of regulatory bodies to enhance the control system in all its forms in the emirate.

Furthermore, ADAFSA has organised 85 training courses in food safety to build the capacity of its employees and enable them to carry out food control and inspection tasks. The authority also contributed effectively with partners and customers in organizing events and exhibitions and supervising the participating food sites in the emirate, where more than 1,500 events were covered in 2023. ADAFSA pointed out that the Essential Food Safety Training Programme (EFST) has achieved tangible results by developing the skills of food handlers and building their knowledge of food safety requirements. Since its launch, over 230,081 food handlers in establishments have participated in the programme and obtained certified certificates in the field.

ADAFSA also represents the UAE in the meetings of the Codex Coordinating Committee for Near East (CCNE), where it participates in exchanging best global practices in the field of food safety. During the first quarter of 2024, the authority participated in 11 Codex meetings and completed eight reports reflecting successful UAE National experiences in food safety.

The authority emphasised its ongoing commitment to enhancing food safety culture in the community by intensifying control and awareness efforts and strengthening cooperation with local and international partners. Moreover, ADAFSA seeks to adopt the latest technologies and innovations in food safety to ensure that consumers in Abu Dhabi have access to safe and healthy food that meets their nutritional needs.

ADAFSA received the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) award, an initiative by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) of the United Nations, in the business category for its excellence in innovation and implementation of the Food Imports and Exports Platform (FIEMIS), a unified portal for food importers and exporters. The achievement was celebrated during the WSIS Forum awards ceremony on 30 May 2024 at the ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The FIEMIS provides a single window for importers and exporters to submit and track their orders and facilitates procedures for imported food products based on the database available to ADAFSA and its partners. It also provides a service of releasing imported food shipments before the shipment arrives at the port, as well as tracking import and export orders, which contributes to facilitating food trade, increasing the attractiveness of imports through the ports of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

To facilitate food import and export operations, the FIEMIS allows completing seven services provided by ADAFSA online. These services range from requesting registration of importing food companies and imported products to import requests for food products, export certificate requests, food destruction certificates, inspection requests for food shipments transferred to and from other emirates, as well as customs declaration and clearance procedures for food shipments.