UAE food operators caught selling contaminated, fake or rotten foods could face jail sentences of up to three years and fines of up to AED2m ($544,519), according to a new draft due to be presented to the Federal National Council (FNC) for approval this week, it was reported.
The draft legislation, which has already been approved by cabinet, will be debated by the FNC on Tuesday and will require final approval by the President, HH Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Under the law, all food must be registered when it arrives in the country and before it enters the food chain.
“No food, nor animal feed will be imported into the country unless it is approved by the Ministry of Environment and Water as per a national approval and registration system, to be announced and fully enforced when this law takes effect,” the new law states, according to a report by Dubai-based Gulf News.
Under the draft proposals, suppliers caught dealing with produce which contains pork or alcohol without proper permission will face a minimum of one month in jail and a fine of up to AED500,000.
Produce with misleading or false packing or descriptions could lead to fines of up to AED100,000.
For serious breaches of the new law, such as selling contaminated, fake or rotten food, or attempting to deliberately contaminate the food chain, jail sentences of up to three years and fines of up to AED2m are being considered.
The move comes at a time when the population of the UAE is growing rapidly and food consumption is rising at a rate of 12 percent per annum, according to the Ministry of Economy, the Gulf News report said.