Overview of the different labeling and marking requirements, including any restrictive advertising or labeling practices and where to get more information.
The UAE standard UAE S.9: 2017 “Labeling for Prepackaged Food Stuffs” replaced the Gulf Standardization Organization (GSO) standard GSO 9:2013. This UAE standard has been approved and published as a technical regulation and is mandatory. The standard sets the framework for the packaging and labeling requirements of the UAE. The following labeling information is required in Arabic, either as part of the packaging or as an affixed label:
- Product and brand names
- Lot identification/lot number
- Production and expiry dates
- Country of origin
- Manufacturer name
- Instruction for storage and use
- Manufacturer address
- Net content weight in metric units
- List of ingredients and additives (Using their “E” number and group names are acceptable) in descending order of proportion
- All fats and oils used as ingredients
- Product barcode
- Name of the food, packer, distributor or importer
- Warning statements, if any
- Nutritional declaration
Labels must be in Arabic only or Arabic/English. Arabic stickers are accepted. Note: The production and expiry dates must be printed on the original manufactured installed label. Companies should consider cultural norms and values when designing and developing product packaging.
Animal fats and ingredients should be sourced from animals that are Halal slaughtered. The use of pork fat, as with all pork related products as ingredients, is prohibited unless the products are retailed with all pork and non-Muslim products in designated restricted sections of the retail stores. These sections are clearly marked for non-Muslims. Labels for pork and pork containing products must comply with the general labeling requirements and must clearly state that the product contains pork.
For pet foods, labels must be printed in Arabic. Arabic/English labels are permitted, as is the use of stickers. The pet food label must contain the statement “Not fit for human consumption." Production/expiry dates are required for pet foods.
If “GMO Free” is claimed on the product’s label, the supplier must provide a GMO- free certificate from a competent authority issued at the country of origin to verify the claim.
If the product is claimed as organic and an organic logo is included in the label, a certificate must be provided from accredited body supporting this claim. The United States Department of Agriculture organic logo ($A Organic) and certificate is accepted by UAE authorities. If the product is organic but not claimed on the packaging, the importer is not required to submit any certificate or attestation.
If the produced is halal (halal logo is printed on the label), the supplier/importer needs to provide halal certificate from one of the accredited halal certifiers in the United States that are approved by UAE authorities. The list of approved halal certifiers and the scope of work of each certifier can be obtained from Emirates Standardization and Metrology Agency (ESMA) which is available online Dubai Municipality website.
To ensure that the exported U.S. products comply with local food regulations/standards UAE health authorities require advance label approval and product registration. To facilitate product entry, the U.S. suppliers are strongly encouraged to obtain advance label approval through their local importers, particularly for new to market goods. This label clearance/approval can be obtained through the Dubai Municipality website.