All you need to know about importing packaged food products into the UAE
To import packaged food products into the UAE, trading companies need to secure certifications and undergo label assessments in advance. This is a mandatory process as it helps the UAE government to screen imports and ensure that bad/harmful products are not supplied to the domestic markets. In this article, you will find all the information you to register your food importation business successfully:
To get an import license for a food product, you will be required to submit the following documents:
- Label image.
- Ingredients list.
- Barcode details.
- Artwork of the product.
- Additives (if any).
- Micro-biological report (if possible).
- The declaration of conformity (if required).
- Approved halal certificate issued by any Islamic Organization (if required).
- Attested free sale certificate from the country of origin.
- Trade license.
Each food product must carry a label that outlines the following information:
- Brand Name.
- Product Name (a summarized description of the food product).
- The food ingredients (arranged in descending order according to the weight or volume).
- Production & expiration dates of all products (except those which are exempted from displaying the validity or expiration dates).
- Name of the food manufacturer, packer, distributor, or importer.
- Net weight or volume.
- Country of origin should be declared clearly and should be specific. For example, the EU is not an acceptable country of origin; the exact country should be specified.
- Product’s barcode.
- Lot number.
- The language of the label shall be in Arabic. Approved stickers may be used to translate the food labels to the Arabic language.
- Storage conditions (if the validity of the product depends on such conditions).
- Mentioning the ingredients which may cause hypersensitivity.
- Instructions for using the product (if needed).
- Displaying the nutritional information is optional (catering only).
How Long Does the Process Take?
Before you can access the Portal and apply for an import license, you need to be registered with the Municipality. This registration requires a deposit of 15,000 AED to the Municipality. Afterward, each product registration will take approximately 14 working days from the day of submission.
Conditions Under Which Your Application May Get Rejected
- Banned ingredients like poppy seeds and alcohol.
- Hard-to-read label information.
- Duplicated barcodes in the Portal.
- Food supplements that are controlled by the consumer section.
- Ingredients are not declared.
- Ingredients in a foreign language that is neither Arabic nor English.
- Some items need to be approved by the ministry of health.
- Non-conformity with shape law i.e., has religious signs or inappropriate pictures.
- Non-food items such as cigarettes.
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