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09 June 2023

Biosecurity system allows public to report suspected foodborne diseases

By Wam

Members of the community can now report suspected cases of emerging epidemic threats and foodborne diseases to authorities through www.biosecalert.ae The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MoCCAE, today unveiled the online Biosecurity Early Notification System. The unified national platform enables public to report such cases with the aim of facilitating early identification and verification of outbreaks.

The system features three main categories of notifications namely Animal Development and Health, Agricultural Development and Health and Food Safety.

The Animal Development and Health category allows people to alert the authorities to incidents related to infectious diseases of animals and violations of animal legislation, including animal cruelty, possession of dangerous animals, incompliant veterinary products and facilities, as well as illegal animal consignments.

The Agricultural Development and Health category focuses on the occurrences of agricultural pests, such as the red palm weevil, Dubas bug, and stem and stalk borers. Early identification of pests and timely control action prevent major crop losses.

Through the Food Safety category, the public can report unsafe food products. These include foodstuff traded or stored in unsanitary conditions, food products that are misleading to the consumer, contaminated, non-halal, or expired, as well as those that have caused food poisoning or an allergic reaction after consumption.

Saif Al Shara, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector at MoCCAE, said, "MoCCAE developed the Biosecurity Early Notification System to detect and contain suspected outbreaks and create a database of notifications to inform biosecurity decision making. The move aligns with the objectives of the UAE Vision 2021 and the Ministry’s mission of protecting the environment, preserving and developing natural resources, and ‚Äčensuring their efficient and sustainable use."

He added, "The user-friendly, bilingual platform engages the public in our endeavors to keep pathogens at bay. Implementing a unified process for reporting environmental threats on a national scale will help us remain vigilant and highly responsive."

Utilising Artificial Intelligence for data analysis and running on all smart devices, the system directs notifications to the concerned local authorities. Cases deemed as high-risk get transferred to the Environmental Disasters Department at MoCCAE.

Employees of the relevant government entities can access the system to view notifications in real time and devise a coordinated response.

The platform produces investigation reports and provides updated statistics on the reported incidents to track the geographical distribution of the disease and contain it to reduce morbidity and mortality as well as prevent further spread. In addition, the system automatically generates daily reports of high-risk notifications, and circulates the latest laws and ministerial resolutions to government authorities.