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Ministry keeps an eye on UAE egg market

Environment ministry monitoring Netherlands egg-contamination issue

Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
Customers buying eggs at Lulu Hypermarket Market.

Dubai: The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is keeping a watchful eye on an egg-contamination scare in the Netherlands to protect the UAE’s local markets and consumer health, said an official on Tuesday.

“The ministry continues to monitor the Netherlands and coordinate with local markets to ensure full safety,” the official told Gulf News.

Following news that millions of chickens may be culled in the wake of fears of insecticide-tainted eggs in the Netherlands, the ministry said it has tightened imports of eggs.

It also issued a circular to local egg markets for extra safety.

The two billion-plus eggs produced or imported into the UAE every year are safe from the egg-contamination scare in the Netherlands, UAE egg producers and distributors told Gulf News on Tuesday.

One of the UAE’s largest eggs distributors said on Tuesday that its own poultry products adhere to the strictest standards.

“We are purchasing our day-old chicks from reputable companies,” said Shaikh Yousuf, the production manager of Arabian Farms Development.

Every day, the Dubai firm supplies 334,000 eggs across the UAE.

“We have a certificate that our eggs are pesticide free. We are testing our eggs to DSO Gulf standards. In Holland, they are using pesticides,” Yousuf said.

Spinneys, an upmarket grocery chain with more than four dozen outlets in five emirates, said it was aware of the ministry’s circular.

“Our eggs are imported from Ireland, under the Spinney’s food label,” a spokeswoman for the firm said.

“They are organic, free range, and then there are free range corn fed. Those are all quality assured in terms of the Irish quality assurance scheme, which are one of the most strict in the world.”

In a prior interview, one of the largest domestic egg producers told Gulf News that the UAE’s estimated nine million residents consume an estimated two billion eggs a year translating into each resident consuming about 222 eggs each year.

Around 60 per cent of the eggs are imported, the firm said, with more than 800 million being produced domestically in the UAE.

Based on an average price of 50 fils per egg, the UAE annual egg sale retail market is worth around Dh1 billion.

Ministry issues warning on Japanese soy sauce

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment issued a warning on Tuesday prohibiting imports of Japanese Kikkoman soy sauce due to its alcohol content.

The ministry said it also banned the circulation of the product in the UAE market in accordance with Ministerial Resolution No. (539) of 2012 on the Standard Guide to the Procedures for the Prohibition of Handling and Banning of Food.

The decision came based on the results of tests conducted by specialised accredited laboratories, which confirmed that several samples of the product with different production dates violated the rules.

Having received notifications of alcohol content in Kikkoman soy sauce from the authorities concerned, the ministry urged consumers to dispose of any Japanese-made Kikkoman soy sauce they may have purchased.

The ministry also clarified that this decision targets specifically Kikkoman soy sauce made in Japan and does not include Kikkoman products produced in other countries.