Dubai has fused its FIRS (Food Import and Re-Export System) with a brand new federal site named ZAD. All food items which include packaged food products that are imported to the country, should have registration with the ZAD portal. Products that are entering into the Emirate of Dubai should initially possess registration with ZAD and post registration, they can be sold anywhere in the city minus any extra approvals. This single-window system is a major boon for registering products in the Emirate and there are several aspects to be covered including Halal, packaging, import permissions in a single step.

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Registration of Food Products in Dubai

Based on the guidelines issued by the Dubai Municipality via the ZAD portal, the Government makes sure that all packaged food products entering the country are safe and of high quality for re-export and import. Registration of food products may require 2-3 months on an average.

Some reasons for rejection include usage of banned ingredients including alcohol and poppy seeds along with label details which are not easy to read. There may be duplication of bar codes in ZAD/FIRS along with consumer section control over food supplements. Ingredients may not always be declared or may not be similar to ingredients mentioned for the product. Additionally, rejections are given for ingredients in foreign languages other than English or Arabic. The Ministry of Health should approve all items and there should be conformity to shape regulations. Items with unsuitable or inappropriate pictures or religious signs will naturally be rejected.

Documents Required for Registration of Packaged Food Products

  • Product artwork
  • Bar code information
  • List of ingredients
  • Additives if used
  • Label image
  • Halal Certificate issued by Islamic organization with approval from UAE authorities
  • Free sale certificate (attestation from chamber of commerce in country of origin and UAE Embassy attestation)
  • Conformity declaration
  • Micro-biological report if it is applicable

What should the label have?

  • Brand and product name
  • Ingredients as per volume/weight
  • Expiration and production dates
  • Net volume or weight
  • Name of food manufacturer, distributor, packer and importer
  • Product barcode
  • Country of origin
  • Storage conditions
  • Lot number
  • Declaration whether any ingredient leads to hypersensitivity
  • Declaration whether any ingredient requires special instructions for usage
  • Nutritional details

Mandatory requirements for labels

  • Product label should always be there for packaged food products in Arabic. English can also be an option along with Arabic.
  • If any other language is mentioned apart from Arabic, both contents should match properly.
  • Minimum requirements for Arabic details are the ingredients, product name, country of origin, storage conditions, declarations as mentioned above and so on.
  • Expiration date of products should be clearly declared.
  • Product net weight, volume, bar code and nutritional details should be clearly provided.

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