Beef sold in the UAE is safe and consumers have no reason to worry, food authorities said on Thursday.
This follows a case of mad cow disease detected in the US last week, and after two farms in California were quarantined on Wednesday. Another cattle ranch is under investigation, according to reports.
The UAE imports a small quantity of beef from the US and all meats are inspected, officials said. Only 167,787 kg of the meat was imported from the US last year, said the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA).
“Meats imported from all countries of the world are subjected to strict inspections. The documents accompanying the cargo are also scrutinised very carefully. The documents include the health certificate issued by the authorities in the exporting countries confirming the safety of the meat,” said Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, Director of Communication and Community Service (ADFCA).
He said the meat is subjected to veterinary inspection to ensure its safety, and samples are extracted for laboratory tests.
These stringent processes make it near impossible for contaminated or non-compliant products to be brought into the country, he said.
The Ministry of Environment and Water issues periodic decisions with regard to defective or questionable food products in such circumstances, informing that certain products are banned or bans lifted. This is done based on the notifications from the international organisations concerned.
Reyasa said the authority also intensifies inspections at border crossings when there is news of any food safety risks anywhere in the world.
Meanwhile, the US food safety authorities said the move to quarantine farms and probe the ranch for the disease are standard procedures.
Agencies also reported a calf born to an infected cow tested negative for the disease.
Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, spreads when cattle eat feed that contains parts of infected cattle. It affects the brain and nervous system of the affected cattle.
Experts believe people can contract a similar fatal brain disease by eating infected parts of affected cattle.
This is the second case in the US after 2003. The brain disorder infected 180,000 livestock in Europe and claimed many human lives in the 1980s and 1990s.