Mobile food testing laboratory was launched yesterday during the 12th Dubai International Food Safety Conference which is under way at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Dubai: Visitors to Global Village and other major event venues in Dubai will be assured of better food safety with a new smart mobile lab doing spot testing to minimise the risk of food-borne illnesses.

The first mobile food testing lab in the country was launched during the opening ceremony of the 12th Dubai International Food Safety Conference on Monday just ahead of the opening of Global Village on Tuesday.

Mariam Saeed Hareb Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Food Security and Dawood Al Hajiri, Director General of Dubai Municipality inaugurated the lab.

Al Hajiri told Gulf News that the lab will be first placed in Global Village which has several food outlets open for six months.

“This smart lab will considerably reduce the food testing time at Dubai Central Laboratory. We will have more such labs to cover major events and festivals and the Expo 2020 site in future.”

Farida Mohammad, head of Food Microbiology Analysis Unit at Dubai Central Lab, said food samples can be tested on the spot in the paperless lab in two days as against the current turnaround time of five working days.

“The high-tech machines can test 116 food samples a day.”

Farida Mohammad (left), head of the Food Microbiology Analysis Unit, says food samples can be tested on the spot. Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

High risk food items such as ready-to-eat meals and salads which are popular in Global Village food outlets will undergo tests based on risk assessment done by food inspectors on the site.

Foodborne pathogens like salmonella will be detected quickly and any chance of food poisoning outbreak can be contained, officials said.

In future, the service of the mobile food testing lab will be used at Dubai Airshow, Dubai World Cup and other sites and tourist spots where big events and festivals are held.

“Dubai has over 17,000 food outlets and imports over 10 million tonnes of food annually and employs more than 100,000 food professionals. It is important to channelise some efforts during the conference to provide innovative solutions to the challenges related to food safety and quality in Dubai,” said Al Hajiri.

With more than 700,000 food products registered on the Food Watch digital platform of the Food Safety Department, it is a challenge to conduct quick lab tests to ensure food safety, said Noora Al Shamsi, head of Applied Nutrition and Permits at the department and chairperson of the three-day conference.

“We intend to overcome such challenges with smart solutions like this mobile lab,” she said.