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Dubai: All shops in Dubai have been directed by authorities to withdraw vacuum flasks that may contain asbestos in view of consumer health concerns.

The directive comes from the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED), along with the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA).

The DED, in cooperation with ESMA, is also launching an awareness campaign across outlets selling vacuum flasks in Dubai to ensure that the flasks do not contain hazardous asbestos.

Conformity mark

Traders and consumers are urged to ensure that the flasks carry the ‘ECAS’ (Emirates Conformity Assessment System) mark issued by ESMA before buying them.

Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, CEO of CCCP, said: “Dubai Economy has set up a specialised team in cooperation with [ESMA] to address traders and guide them to withdraw asbestos-containing thermos flasks. The team will organise inspection and awareness visits starting today to ensure that the Dubai market is free of these products that affect the health and safety of consumers.”

Lootah added that Dubai Economy strives to protect the rights of consumers, particularly those related to their safety. “We are keen on upholding Dubai’s reputation as the preferred place to shop for people across the GCC, Middle East and beyond.”

Strict rules

ESMA clarified that any appliance or utensil that comes in direct contact with food can be sold only subject to strict procedures laid down in the UAE Ministerial Decree No. (20) for the year 2015. The ECAS mark ensures the safety of the process of sourcing and certifying products meant to be sold in the local market.

Abdullah Al Maeeni, Director-General, ESMA, said the provisions of the decree apply to all tools that comes in contact with food offered, imported, manufactured or distributed in the UAE, including flasks used to serve coffee, tea or hot beverages. Consumers should trust such products only if they carry the ECAS mark, he added.

Right to know

Al Maeeni said the controls imposed include providing consumers with information on the product. Such information must be accurate, laboratory-validated, scientifically proven and displayed in a tamper-proof way on the product.

Conformity certificates for products that come in contact with food (processed, packaged or imported) are issued only after the products are examined in accredited laboratories, and all technical documents, certificates and documented information are verified to ensure that the product adhere to the requirements specified in the Ministerial Decree.