Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Food Safety Conference programmes to focus on food safety in countries with emerging economies


The 6th conference to be held from 28 February to 1 March in Dubai


The sixth Dubai International Food Safety Conference programmes will focus on
Food Safety in countries with emerging economies, said Amina Ahmed Mohammed,
Director of Accreditation Department at Dubai Municipality and Vice Chairperson
of the Organizing Committee and Chairperson of the Scientific Committee of
the Conference. The conference is scheduled to be held at Dubai International
Convention and Exhibition Centre during 28 February - March 1 along side the
Gulfood Exhibition.

She added that the conference held with the theme, "Food Safety in Emerging
Economies – What Is Achievable, Reliable and Sustainable," will have 11 main
sessions and 6 workshops during the conference and 4 workshops before the
conference, in addition to 5 symposia, and a number of scientific and technical
sessions.

Mohammed pointed out that the workshops, which will be held before the
conference, will make this event the most important and most comprehensive
conference on food in the region as a whole.

She noted that the registration process of the conference has been receiving
tremendous response from all over the world because of the conference attracting
participation of international organizations such as the Center for Disease Control
(CDC) in the United States of America and the Food and Agriculture (FAO) of the
United Nations and the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), the
largest association of professionals in the field of food safety.

Mohammed stressed that the conference has become a global scientific forum
because of the participation of these international organizations that will contribute
to improving business in the area of food safety in the Middle East.

She added that the organizing committee will launch from this year school
competitions to design posters and brochures for the conference so as to ensure the
effective participation of the new generation in the conference.

Mohammed commended the close collaboration with government agencies such as
the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, UAE
University and the technical support from IAFP, FAO and CDC for the preparation
of the working programme of the conference and the exchange of knowledge and
experience with the WHO.

"The sixth conference brings a window of opportunity for everyone interested in
food safety to develop and update procedures to ensure food safety, because this
conference will attract the best experts and consultants from all over the world to
exchange experiences on bringing a consensus on standards and procedures relating
to food safety. This conference will provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge
and developing new skills for all who work in this important area in the private
sector, regulatory bodies and academic institutions," she said.

According to Mohammed every year the conference deals with a large number of
topics of interest to the food industry and the consequent issues and among the
most important topics to be discussed during this year is the launch of Person In
Charge (PIC) for foodstuff companies and food importers, which is a unique initiative
at the local and regional levels.

She said this initiative will be explained in detail by focusing on ways to apply it in
a manner that supports the Strategic Plan of the Emirate of Dubai and to activate
the role of strategic partners in food safety and encourage them to play a more
influential role through self-censorship of their establishments.

There will also be coordination and cooperation with the CDC to convene the
second specialized workshop, which aims to develop a strategy and policy to deal
with the diseases transmitted by food, in which the Dubai Health Authority (DHA)
and the Federal Ministry of Health and health authorities in other emirates have
an important role in the discussions about the draft of the Handbook, which was
prepared by the Food Control Department at Dubai Municipality and specialists from
DHA.

The work papers will be presented by many local regulatory bodies, which will
discuss the best local practices in the field of food safety, which will be delivered by
specialists from various regulatory agencies in the country, as well as best practices
in the food industry by the private sector.

There will be an opportunity for foodstuff establishments and food importing
companies to ask their questions and discuss their concerns with officials and
experts in the field of food control, through an open meeting with representatives of
the food control authorities at the local and regional levels.

Among the important topics to be discussed at the conference will be promoting a
food safety culture in the foodstuff establishments, as this subject is one of the most
important topics that is discussed nowadays due to its role in ensuring food safety,

which constitutes one of the pillars of self-censorship in foodstuff establishments. In
addition, there will be many programmes and other workshops, which will provide
an opportunity to meet with workers in the field of food safety in the world who
represent a wide range of cultures and international experience.

There are also other issues about food exports that are no less important, which
is to ensure the safety of food consumed locally in countries with emerging
economies. It is well known that food safety regulations in many of these countries
do not live up to the level of regulations in force in developed and industrial
countries, so the consumer in countries with emerging economies are exposed to
consumption of foods with high levels of pollutants more than their counterparts
in industrialized and developed countries, and the most important reasons that
lead to contamination of food is that most of these countries with a tropical
climate are suitable for the spread of pests and contaminants, as well as to increase
the likelihood of contamination of water sources used in the preparation and
manufacturing food in these countries. The problems of increasing population,
urbanization, scarcity of resources to deal with the loss of crops before and after
harvest, and the challenges related to environment and food hygiene means the
continued suffering of these countries with regard to food quality and safety.

On the other hand, the cultural changes resulting from urbanization have led to
exacerbate these problems by changing the traditional methods of food preparation,
and the increased dependency on food prepared outside the home. The final
outcome is the exposure of consumers in these countries to more food risks, as well
as the deterioration of the quality of these food items.

The internal and external challenges of such these countries pose many questions
for those involved in food safety in the world. What solutions can be provided by
governments, producers, and consumers to deal with concerns about food safety?
What aspects of cooperation and opportunities for coordination between producing
and consuming countries that may lead to reach the objectives of ideal food safety
and management? How can we be sure of the reliability and sustainability of food
safety programs in these countries? What are the joint research programmes that
are required to resolve the outstanding problems in this regard? How can food
manufacturers in the world work to ensure the safety of the food they produce?

International experts from the GCC countries, America, Europe, Ireland, New
Zealand and India will lecture on various issues related to food safety, which include
specifications and technical requirements related to food safety.

She said the conference programme addresses several core themes related to food
legislation and procedures, applications, and general culture related to food safety
and activating the role of awareness.

Mohammed noted that the conference programme includes a number of symposia,
workshops and technical sessions that will provide professional development
opportunities for the participants.

She noted that the recommendations that will emerge from the discussion sessions
at the conference will contribute to the development of food safety at the local and
regional levels.

Mohammed stated that the list of keynote speakers to the conference, which is the
largest gathering in the Middle East, includes food safety specialists and experts such
as Bill Marler, who is one of the noted lawyers in cases involving food safety, Dr.
Karen Hulebak, Chairman of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Dr. Lee Ann-Jaykus
President, IAFP, David Tharp, Executive Director of IAFP, Dr. Ian Williams, Acting
Chief, Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch, CDC, USA, Dr. Ezeddine Boutrif,
Former Director, Food Safety and Quality Division, FAO, Dr. V. Prakash, Director,
Central Food Technological Research Institute, India, and Dr. Dennis J. Russell,
Professor, American University of Sharjah.

She stated that the conference will discuss recent issues related to food safety and
the benefits and effectiveness of new standards in this area and the methods that
have been developed in many countries to improve food safety and regulation.

A large number of professionals who are interested in developing and implementing
food safety programs in various parts of the world will participate in the conference.
The last year's conference was attended by more than 1,200 participants who stated
that this conference has become an international event and has become the most
popular in the area of food safety in the Middle East according to the questionnaire
that was distributed at the end of the conference.

More information about the conference can be accessed through the conference
website: http://www.foodsafetydubai.com.

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