Items without Arabic label to be banned

Unlike the products above, those without proper Arabic labelling may be banned. (SUPPLIED)

The Dubai Municipality is working with municipalities in other emirates to effectively implement a ban on import and re-export of food products without proper Arabic labelling.

The authorities will impose a penalty on traders who do not follow the new set of regulations introduced recently to control food imports and re-exports through Dubai ports. A senior official of Dubai Municipality told Emirates Business health inspectors had deferred a deadline to penalise such imports because the ban was being circumvented by traders importing food materials through other ports such as Sharjah, Ajman and Abu Dhabi.

"We cannot fully control the imports without Arabic labelling because importers are using other ports to bring in the same items. We hope the Abu Dhabi Municipality will soon announce its decision (to ban) such imports followed by Sharjah, Ajman and other municipalities," said a senior official in the Food Control Department, Dubai Municipality. Traders were earlier given time until March 2008 to comply with the new guidelines.

"While the 40 inspectors at the Dubai port are vigilant, food traders and re-exporters continue to transport materials through land route to Dubai after bringing the consignments through other ports," according to an official who was talking at the Ingredients Middle East food exhibition.