EXPO 2020 DUBAI Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai will go down in history for its remarkable achievement in ensuring food safety of the 24 million visitors as well, details revealed by Dubai Municipality on Wednesday indicated.

Nearly 2,500 new food products were imported to Dubai for the first time at the Expo site and not a single food poisoning case was recorded in the six-month duration of the world fair, the civic body revealed. The compliance rate of food outlets participating in Expo 2020 was 100 per cent throughout the six months of the global event, said Dubai Municipality.

Dubai Municipality’s Food Safety Department teams inspected and released about 3.5 million tonnes of food shipments imported for Expo from 114 countries, after verifying their compliance with the approved requirements and specifications. The process of releasing each shipment took just 20 minutes.

Sultan Al Taher, Director of Food Safety Department at Dubai Municipality, said that the municipality’s efforts reiterated Dubai’s global leadership in food safety by ensuring the health and safety of more than 24 million people who visited Expo, pointing out that no food poisoning case was recorded throughout the six months of Expo 2020.

Comprehensive monitoring

“We had started our work well in advance of the Expo by providing the necessary support and food safety requirements for setting up the food outlets in international pavilions, and verifying their fulfillment after their completion, in addition to carrying out comprehensive monitoring during the conduct of food activities over a period of 182 days,” added Al Taher.

“We had an integrated plan for food control, starting with its import, storage, preparation and transportation, and then offering it at the event site to ensure the health and safety of visitors and consumers,” he said.

Al Taher explained that the Food Safety Department of Dubai Municipality issued the necessary approvals and permits to establish food outlets in the international pavilions and other areas within the Expo before the start of the event, in addition to the permits to conduct activities and events throughout the exhibition period.

New food products

He pointed out that 2,499 new food products were registered at the event site, which were among the food products that were imported for the first time as part of the Expo’s food shipments.

“Our teams carried out 3,389 periodic inspection visits using the smart inspection system on all the participating outlets, in addition to daily follow-up visits to verify continuous adherence to food safety requirements throughout the six months,” Al Taher added.

High ratings

He pointed out that the municipality noticed a great amount of commitment to food safety requirements by the participating food outlets, as 90 per cent of the total participating outlets obtained Excellent (A) rating, and 10 per cent got Very Good (B) rating, while there were no takers for Good (C) or Average (D) or Poor (F) rating for all days of the event.

“The results of the tests conducted on food samples that were taken from food outlets or from imported food shipments showed that they conformed to the approved specifications by nearly 99 per cent,” Al Taher explained.

He pointed out that the Municipality was keen to provide proactive and customised services to international participants by issuing a specialised guide to food safety requirements and publishing virtual training materials.

“As part of offering continuous support to the participating outlets before the start of the event and during the Expo, we organised training workshops via video communication technology to familiarise them with our food safety requirements in all stages of trading food, starting from importing, receiving primary foodstuffs, storing, preparing, transporting, displaying and serving,” said Al Taher.

He said that Dubai Municipality will continue to make more efforts and focus on the priority of food safety to ensure that all residents and visitors to Dubai enjoy safe, healthy and sustainable food at all times.