The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), the UK’s national accreditation body for organizations that provide certification, testing, inspection, and calibration services, has approved 61 new tests of the National Laboratories Department of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE).
Currently, the department offers 410 internationally accredited laboratory tests for animal diseases, crop pests, pesticides and their residue in food products, veterinary products, water, soil, and fertilizers.
Moreover, for the 17th consecutive year, UKAS has renewed the National Laboratories’ ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation that outlines the requirements for testing and calibration laboratories in terms of quality system, technical competence, and accuracy of results.
The National Laboratories Department adheres to the standards adopted by the concerned local authorities and the Codex Alimentarius Commission, an international food standards body established jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
In H1 2021, the department’s central and satellite laboratories ran 156,663 tests on 95,319 samples. Satellite laboratories are located at border crossings and conduct tests on samples from inbound consignments to verify their compliance with UAE requirements before they enter the country and to expedite their release. Non-compliant consignments are either returned to the country of origin or destroyed on the spot.
His Excellency Eng Saif Al Shara, Assistant Undersecretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector and Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector at MOCCAE, said: “Food safety and security are top priorities for MOCCAE. In this context, the Ministry’s National Laboratories Department works diligently to raise the efficiency of technicians and equipment at its laboratories.”
He added: “International accreditation of laboratory tests is instrumental in ensuring the safety of traded foods and veterinary products. We constantly coordinate and follow up with international accrediting bodies to assess the compliance of existing tests for accreditation renewal and new tests for approval.”
In 2021, the National Laboratories Department has revamped its food safety monitoring processes throughout the production and trade cycles to safeguard public health and keep foodborne diseases at bay.
MOCCAE has scaled up the implementation of the National Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program that examines the levels of pesticide residue in fresh vegetables and fruits, grains, nuts, spices, honey, and milk. The program is part of the implementation of the Federal Law No. 10 of 2015 on food safety and its executive regulations, and aligns with the standard UAE.S MRL 1/2019 on maximum residue limits (MRL) for pesticides in agricultural and food products.