Apply to Release Imported Food Consignments for Sale in the Local Market

Food Consignments for Sale Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements and procedures for importing food consignments for sale?

  • Obtain a trade, industrial or professional license from authorized licensing entities in the UAE, provided that the activity of the license is related to food consignments for sale or general trading.
  • Register in the Dubai Municipality website to obtain a user name and password.
  • Dubai Municipality services can be obtained by entering the user name and password or through the digital ID (UAEPASS).
  • Register in the Food Import Re-Export Services (IRS).
  • Register in the ZAD Federal Smart Portal for Food Trade in the UAE.
  • Apply online through Dubai Municipality website and access the services by selecting Services > Business Services > Food Products.
  • Import food products through ZAD Federal Smart Portal to transfer food consignments for sale to and from Dubai or to register products only.

What is IRS, Food Import Re-Export Food Consignments for Sale Services?

  • It is an advanced electronic system to monitor imported and exported foods.
  • It is required to register all traded food items in the FIRS system, whether imported or locally produced, and linking items with the product identification code number (barcode).
  • The services of this system are available from anywhere in the world. The system gives access to users to submit applications and attachments, assess, register, then import, monitor and follow up on food items until the completion of each application and its closure on the system.
  • All types of transactions and related fees are paid electronically.
  • This system includes an advanced food sampling system with a risk-based analysis of each food items.
  • This system allows food establishments to apply online for several services provided by the Food Safety Department, namely:
    • Assess the food label of the product.
    • Register a food item.
    • Apply to import food items through the ports of Dubai into local markets
    • Apply for food import re-export permit.
    • Apply to inspect a consignment transferred to the company’s warehouses (DIP).
    • Apply to close all types of food consignments for sale files.
    • Apply to issue different health certificates, including food export certificates.

Can food be imported immediately after registering in the IRS Food Import Re-Export Services?

  • Before any food items are imported into the country, the food establishment must ensure the following:
  • The food product intended to be imported conforms with the approved standards, specifications and laws by obtaining a certificate of assessment for the label of each food item (each barcode). 
  • The food item must be registered in the IRS Food Import Re-export Services, where the submission of any import application must contain all the types of foods that are physically present in the imported consignment, provided that any food product not registered is left at the port of entry.
  • The possibility of obtaining a health certificate from a government health authority or an accredited government health authority in the country of origin for all food items in the food consignments for sale (approved health certificate for raw products such as vegetables and fruits).
  • The ability to obtain a Halal certificate for meat-products and their derivatives issued by an Islamic association authorized by UAE approved authorities.

Is there a process to ensure that the food label of the product intended to be imported conforms to the approved specifications and standards?

You can make sure as follows:
  • Apply to register the food items
  • Request to assess the food label of the product through the Food Import Re-Export Services (IRS).

What is the process of registering and assessing a food label?

You can request the registration and assessment of the food label as follows:

  • Apply online through the Food Import Re-Export Services (IRS), with 1 item per application
  • Attaching a clear photo of both the product and its food label.
  • After the food label is evaluated and assessed, the required amendments (if any) are written in the comments area. Then, the assessment is approved and then you can receive the evaluation certificate after paying the due fees.

How can we obtain the nutritional specifications?

  • Food Standards can be obtained from the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology website.

What are food additives? Which of them is allowed?

  • Food additives are chemicals that are added to food ingredients, but they are not food.
  • There are many types of food additives and the reasons for adding them vary. They may be used to preserve or colour food, or as an antioxidant or anticoagulant.


    The permitted food additives according to the UAE standard (UAE.S CAC) No. 192/2016 are:


  • Food additives mentioned in the latest version of Codex Alimentarius. You can check them through GSFA Online Food Additive Index.
  • If not found, check the food additives listed on the European Commission Database website.
  • It is prohibited to use any food additive not mentioned in the previous two sources.
  • Each food additive or its universal number must be written in the product ingredients list with the purpose of its addition, such as E330 (antioxidant) or citric acid (antioxidant).

How can we get a list of accredited entities for issuing Halal certificates in the UAE?

The list can be obtained from the following website:
  • Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology.
  • Emirates International Accreditation Centre site (EIAC).

How can we get a list of accredited entities for trading and importing organic food products?

  • Through the Ministry Of Climate Change And Environment website.

What are the procedures to be followed when an imported food consignment arrives?

  • Login to the FIRS Food Import Re-export Services through the Dubai Municipality website.
  • Apply for the service.
  • Bring the consignment to the port of entry for inspection.
  • Submit the original documents required for the consignment.
  • Clear the food consignments for sale papers.

How is the security deposit refunded?

  • The food establishment should ensure that there are no pending consignments in its account with the Dubai Municipality.
  • The food establishment wishing to refund the security deposit must send the below required


    The documents include:
  • Copy of the trade license
  • Copy of the security deposit receipt
  • Company International bank account number (IBAN number) through a letter/bank statement/certificate from the bank that includes the company’s account number.
  • If the establishment did not have any pending consignments or any undertaking, the follow-up team sends a request for refund via the ERAD system with the required documents attached.
  • The follow-up team responds to the company email, informing them that the request has been sent to the Financial Affairs and Revenue Department for review and approval.

Who is the Food Trade Person in Charge (FTPIC) be qualified?

  • The food trade person in charge is the person assigned by the company to manage all processes related to imported food consignments and authorized to follow up with the Food Safety Department for any related issues in this regard.
This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.