The Abu Dhabi Food and Safety Authority had to squash 49 rumours from 2013-2018, including carcinogenic ingredients in chocolate Nutella spread. Image Credit: Agencies

Abu Dhabi: The food safety authority has cautioned residents to expect more rumours to float around UAE social networking sites during Ramadan.

The Abu Dhabi Food and Safety Authority (ADFSA) pointed out that misinformation and fake news tend to peak during the month of Ramadan, which all have the intent to harm and damage the reputation of the goods in question.

“The information circulated on social media are not based on scientific evidence, and some of these rumours were fabricated purely for competitive reasons. Other rumours were also created due to the result of misinterpretation, and the spread of news without any prior knowledge of where the original data came from,” said the ADFSA.

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The food authority pointed out that rumours play a major role in altering the behaviour of consumers, whose choices are based on false and misleading information.

From 2013 to 2018, the ADFCA responded to 49 rumours related to food products circulated on social networking sites. Some of the harmful rumours included cancerous Nutella, plastic rice, nitrogen in ice cream and worms in Indomie noodles.

“Spreading food rumors is an unfair practice used by some competitors in the market. Some businesses rely on fake news to harm its competing products, and this in turn causes serious damage to manufacturers and their suppliers, which ultimately harms the national economy,” said the ADFSA.

The authority confirmed that it is currently implementing several programs to raise consumer awareness on food and agricultural products, and strives to clarify any rumours as soon as they arise.

“We also monitor social networking sites to identify food rumours as they spread, and respond to them in a proactive manner to minimize their damage,” it added.

Residents in Abu Dhabi can report food safety violations by contacting the Abu Dhabi Government Contact Centre on the toll free number 800 555.