Dubai has combined its Food Import and Re-Export System (FIRS) with a new federal portal called ZAD. All the food items, including the packaged food products, which are imported to the UAE must be registered with the ZAD portal. Products entering the Emirates initially have to be registered in ZAD and once registered, they can be sold in anywhere in the UAE without any additional approvals. This has been done to introduce a seamless single-window administration for product registration in Dubai, taking care of hygiene aspects like product packaging, Halal, import permissions, etc. at one go.
Packaged food products are nothing but food packed in containers to be sold in the retail stores for the end consumers. Processed foods are normally sealed in a box, cartons, cans or other containers. These are sold in supermarkets, grocery stores in their own packages.
Here are a few examples of packaged food:
- Ice creams, cookies and cakes
- Milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products
- Frozen food like chicken nuggets, hamburgers, patties, etc.
- Canned food like tuna, sausages, salmon, or vegetables like corn, green peas, beans, etc.
How to Register a Food Product in UAE, Especially Dubai
As per the guidelines and regulations of Dubai, for every import or re-export of any food item, product registration is mandatory. The enrolment procedure is regularized by Dubai Municipality (DM) through its ZAD portal. By this system of product registration, the government of Dubai ensures that all products entering the UAE market are of high quality and safe for import and re-export.
It can take 2 to 3 months for registering a food product in the UAE.
These might be the reasons for your product to get rejected:
- Banned ingredients such as poppy seeds and alcohol
- Difficult to read the label information
- Duplicated barcodes in the FIRS/ZAD
- Food supplements are controlled by consumer section
- Ingredients are not declared or not matching the ingredients mentioned in the product
- Ingredients in a foreign language neither Arabic nor English
- Items should be approved by the Ministry of Health
- Non-conformity with shape law has religious signs or inappropriate pictures
Documents Required for Food Product Registration in the UAE
- Artwork of the product
- Ingredient list
- Additives, if any
- Barcode details
- Label image
- Free sale certificate (attested from the chamber of commerce from the country of origin and also UAE embassy attestation)
- Halal Certificate issued by an Islamic organization which is approved by UAE authorities
- Declaration of conformity
- Micro-biological report (if applicable)
Note: Additional documents may be requested by the authority while registering the product.
The label should contain the following:
- Brand name
- Product name (summarized description of the food product)
- Food ingredients (according to weight or volume)
- Production and expiration dates
- Name of the food manufacturer, packer, distributor or importer
- Net weight or volume
- Country of origin
- Product barcode
- Lot number
- Storage conditions
- Declaring if any ingredient causes hypersensitivity or requires special using instructions
- Displaying the nutritional information
- It is mandatory to have a product label on food packaging in Arabic. However, there is an option to have both English and Arabic
- If any other language is mentioned besides Arabic, both the contents mentioned must be matching with each other
- The minimum requirements for the Arabic information on the label are the product name, ingredients, country of origin, storage conditions, declaring if any ingredients cause hypersensitivity or require special using instructions, instructions for product usage
- Production expiration dates must be clearly mentioned
- Product barcode, net weight or volume, nutritional information should be mentioned
It is advisable to seek the help of a consultant during product registration in the UAE, so you can keep up with the updated regulations issued by the government. We at Commitbiz have our team of experts to help you right from document filing to intellectual property protection. To register your food product in the UAE, you can contact us.