Food Safety Related Services Undergo Massive Digital Transformation in Dubai, UAE

Dubai Municipality launched a drive to promote digital transformation in its systems and services related to food safety on Thursday.

The ‘My Food’ initiative will aid the digitization and automation of several basic operations in the food safety system.

Earlier, these services were carried out through millions of records and documents by more than 20,000 food establishments in the Emirate of Dubai, the Municipality said in a press release.

The initiative aims to provide integrated services with the concerned authorities and hopes to reduce the service cost. 

“We also hope it will contribute towards reducing the environmental impact by limiting paper consumption,” 

added the statement.

The food safety program in Dubai aims to protect consumers by ensuring the safety of food handled. According to Municipality, a whopping 7.9 million tonnes of food and three billion meals are consumed by 3.3 million residents and 20 million tourists annually in Dubai.

“It ensures access to safe and healthy food that is being produced and traded in more than 20,000 licensed food establishments in Dubai by obtaining the necessary permits before engaging in food activities,” 

explained Municipality.

How does the programme work?

The My Food Initiative works on enhancing the knowledge efficiency of food handlers and qualifying them in food safety and the use of safe and approved food transportation.

My Food initiative has achieved the digital transformation of all steps of the food permit management process, training, issuing certificates and approving means of food transportation.

The electronic link and smart tracking between the concerned systems have contributed to saving 75 per cent of the time it takes to obtain permits and training services that affect more than 300,000 workers in the food sector and provide and analyse big data to make appropriate predictive decisions.

“This initiative provided an opportunity to enable an active participation of the community in enhancing the compliance of food establishments with food safety requirements by reviewing the evaluation of food establishments and food products registered through the Dubai Municipality App,”

it explained.

Training on food safety principles

The Food Safety Training Management System comprises comprehensive steps for accrediting trainers, training centres, training materials, providing training, evaluating trainees, in addition to awarding certificates.

In the past, all these steps were done manually through document verification and approval, with all information kept in a paper archive.

Changing this service includes:

  • Defining a digital identity for each person
  • Converting manual transactions into digital transactions
  • Transforming manual approvals into automated processes based on algorithms that enable instant decisions and issuing traceable digital contracts and certificates.

In the future, the initiative will also include providing an e-learning platform. The data analysis system will be linked to the food inspection program, preventing violations before they occur through predictive training.

Permit Management System

The previous permit management system relies on manual documentation and approvals. The conversion process includes changing requirements, automating transactions, integrating with related systems, and issuing permissions based on algorithmic rules.

The new system enabled the Municipality to automate the permit issuance mechanism and verify compliance with approved standards to ensure food safety. The system also immediately cancels permits in case of non-compliance, ensuring that food establishments comply with all approved procedures and standards.

Approval of food transport vehicles

The previous system of food transport vehicles relies on documentation and includes multiple visits of customers to service centres and the use of many documents. Food transport permits are issued through third party vehicle testing. Previously, the data was not available for analysis in most cases because the information was distributed to many stakeholders and was kept in Excel files.

The initiative includes:

  • Digitizing the entire information of food transport vehicles.
  • Ensuring that the information is correct by comparing it with the RTA database.
  • Ensuring that all food safety checks and procedures are digital.

The system also enables food establishments and inspectors to flag vehicles that do not comply with the requirements. Powerful data analysis tools will be used to ensure long-term adherence to food safety standards and transportation sustainability.