Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) has taken steps to ensure the reduction of improper practices across the emirate’s agriculture and food production sector through the reinforcement of administrative regulatory penalties against violators.
The move follows Resolution No. 2 – 2022 to enhance the quality of agriculture and food facilities by further strengthening the emirate’s agricultural legislative system, and not only ensures high-quality standards across the sector, but also protects the Abu Dhabi community from violations at farm and food outlets.
The resolution represents ADAFSA’s achievements in applying governing standards and ensuring adherence to all procedures, and administration of penalties against violators, to reach the highest compliance rates for its legislations.
With the resolution, ADAFSA supports the sustainability of agriculture, promotes biosecurity, and reduces improper practices on farms, livestock holdings (izba), and food production facilities.
His Excellency Saeed Al Bahri Al Ameri, Director General of ADAFSA, said the authority's efforts will enhance the development of a sustainable agricultural sector, as well as strengthen the food security and biosecurity system in Abu Dhabi.
His Excellency said: “Implementing administrative penalties on food and agriculture facilities will enable ADAFSA to ensure the unified treatment to all violating categories. Furthermore, penalties are graduated according to the risks of the violations, which reflects the balance philosophy between the public interest and the interests of the facilities. Also, they help reduce violations while conserving all parties’ interests.”
His Excellency assured that the resolution would allow the authority to enhance field inspection visits at all the food processing stages from the farm to fork. Aside from monitoring and inspecting agricultural facilities in both farms and livestock holdings (izba) in Abu Dhabi. The resolution will allow the appeal of administrative penalties within 60 days of the date of notifying the complainant, and failure to respond within 90 days of its submission is considered acceptance of the complaint.
There are seven types of administrative penalties, starting with a notice, which is used in violations of low or medium risk to public health, food safety, biosecurity or agricultural sustainability, with an inspection record indicating high compliance with relevant legislation. The warning penalty applies in the event of recording low- and medium-risk violations with an inspection record indicating a low or medium level of compliance with relevant legislation. The penalty for placing facilities under financial, administrative, and technical supervision applies if the facility is unable to manage production and trading operations in a manner that does not harm food safety, biosecurity, and food security or agricultural sustainability, or if the application of the penalty for closing or suspending the facility is found to be detrimental to the health and safety of food-producing animals and plants.
In the case of a violation that causes a high-level risk with an imminent serious effect to public health, the penalty for temporarily suspending the activity of the facility is applied. The authority has the right to suspend any services or programmes it provides to the facility, temporarily or permanently, as a penalty in the event of violation of the conditions set out in the relevant legislation, after failing to respond to the implementation of the required corrective measures, and after the gradual application of the previous administrative penalties. The penalty for eliminating or suspending the licence of the facility applies if it is unable to manage production and trading operations in a manner that does not constitute harm to food safety, biosecurity, food security or agricultural sustainability within one year of the date of the establishment's activity and after the penalty of placing the facility under supervision or the penalty of licence suspension.
Finally, the penalty for temporarily or permanently closing the facility shall be applied if one or more violations has been recorded, whether for the same or other category, after progressing through previous administrative penalties, recording a violation that poses a serious public health and safety offence and not removing its effects immediately, recording a confirmed poisoning case, or committing a high-risk violation or violations.