Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) is conducting an extensive Total Diet Study (TDS) in Abu Dhabi. The aim of the TDS is to evaluate the extent to which consumers are potentially exposed to different chemical contaminants in the food they consume daily. This study is considered the first of its kind in the country and is part of ADAFSA’s continuous efforts to ensure the safety of food, promote public health, and enhance the quality of life in Abu Dhabi.

In the comprehensive two-year study, due to be completed by December 2025, food samples will be collected from various sources where food is sold in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra regions. These sources include department stores, retail stores, grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and traditional restaurants. The TDS aims to analyse commonly consumed foods, prepared in ready-to-eat form, including meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, grains, beverages, water, and other daily-consumed foods.

Following the collection of samples, specialised laboratories will conduct analyses to determine their content of chemical pollutants, including heavy metals, pesticide residues, antibiotics, mycotoxins, nitrates, nitrites, and acrylamide. The aim is to assess the extent to which consumers are potentially exposed to these pollutants and analyse the resulting health impact of their ingestion.

ADAFSA confirmed that this important TDS will help determine safe levels of potential daily consumption of these pollutants and identify proper dietary behaviours to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. In addition, the study will support the development and launch of awareness programmes that emphasise the significance of selecting healthy foods that align with daily nutritional requirements.

Moreover, the TDS will assist in shaping policies concerning agricultural and livestock production, ensuring that chemical pollutants are minimised as much as possible, enhancing food safety protocols, and minimising consumers' exposure to chemical pollutants. ADAFSA highlighted that numerous countries around the world carry out such studies regularly, as it is considered the most efficient method to evaluate the exposure of consumers of diverse age groups to chemical pollutants due to their consumption of food, and to assess the associated health risks.

The results of the TDS will help to identify food safety priorities, assess the effectiveness of risk management measures and applicable legislation, and enhance the effectiveness of food supply chains.