Dubai will soon introduce new guidelines to update its food safety code and ensure that the public will be provided with more detailed descriptions about allergens. Food Code 2.0 has identified 14 allergens and will require restaurants to label them clearly.

The guidelines, which are in the final stages of approval, will replace the previous food code that was introduced in 2014 and will regulate a variety of factors — including delivery bikes, lab meat and health claims.

The Dubai Municipality (DM) made the announcement at the first-ever food symposium held on Wednesday in observance of Word Food Safety Day under the theme ‘Food standards save lives.’

According to Sultan Al Taher, director of food safety at the DM, the code is being updated to reflect the changing times.

“Food is changing every day with new technology coming,” he said. “We need to regulate these and put Dubai on the world map. For example, no one was using Zoom or Microsoft Teams for training or using online approval for kitchen. Everything has changed since the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Food Code 2.0

Although allergens were addressed in the previous code, the new regulations are more detailed and have stringent requirements for various factors including dishes to be labeled gluten-free.

Food allergies are an immune reaction to certain types of foods. While in most cases, these allergies are mild, in some, it could trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis that could be life-threatening. The signs and symptoms, including constriction and tightening of the airways.

Most common food allergies include milk, eggs, seafood, peanuts and tree nuts, among others.

“If you compare the time we designed the previous code in 2003 to now, our understanding of food safety has changed and so has the way we respond to them,” said Bobby Krishna from Dubai Municipality, during a session detailing the new details of the code.

Once the regulations come into effect, restaurants will also have to validate their health claims like ‘organic’ during inspections. Additionally, the code will regulate raw meat and other modern cooking techniques — including ageing, smoking, and using lab meat.

The code will also regulate delivery bikes and their requirements. “Delivery bikes have increased exponentially since our last code,” said Bobby. “So, we are working closely with the RTA to put in place new regulations for these bikes.”

Attended by food safety officers and representatives from across the industry, the forum addressed food related topics such as safety, security and sustainability.

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