Jafza signs MoU with STAR-K kosher to educate UAE food industry on kashrut

Over 550 companies from more than 70 countries make up the food and agriculture segment at the Jebel Ali Free Zone, in a dedicated area of 1.57 million square meters.

A general view of the Dubai skyline (photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)
A general view of the Dubai skyline
(photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)
DP World's Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UAE-based STAR-K kosher certification on Sunday to educate the zone's food and agricultural industry on kosher certification and to help certify them as kosher, according to the Dubai Media Office.
The MoU was signed by Ahmad Al Haddad, the chief operating officer of Parks and Zones, DP World, UAE Region, and Rabbi Ahron Haskel, president of STAR-K certification in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Vice president Rabbi Yanki Hoffman was also present.
DP World consists of the Jebel Ali Port and Jafza, and hosts companies that handle the processing of food, grain/cereal, meat, edible oil, and tea and coffee, as well as sugar refining, according to the Dubai Media Office. Sugar, meat, cocoa, dairy products, coffee, tea, fruits, spices and other goods are imported and exported through Jafza.
Over 550 companies from more than 70 countries make up the food and agriculture segment at Jafza, which is housed in a dedicated area of 1.57 million square meters and employs over 6,000 people.
"The UAE is a melting pot of cultures," Al Haddad said. "The country is home to people from various countries and is accepting of traditions from varied cultures. With the recent developments between the UAE and Israel, we expect the demand for kosher food to be on the rise.
"We are delighted to team up with STAR-K Kosher Certification," he said. "Through this partnership, we hope to utilize their expertise from time to time by hosting digital and physical seminars for our clients. With this endeavor, we hope to enlighten our partners in the free zone about the benefits of getting a kosher certification.”
"STAR-K Kosher Certification has provided kosher supervision for over fifty years," said Haskel. "Over the years, we have gained the reputation of providing prompt service with the help of our team of experts including technical staff, a network of rabbinic kashrus administrators, food scientists and field supervisors.
"It is important, especially now in light of the Israel-UAE peace agreement, to make entities in the food industry aware of the added value of kosher-certified products – not only for the Jewish community here, but also for anyone looking for healthy and halal-compliant options," he said.
Since the Abraham Accords were signed between the UAE and Israel in September, the government and local businesses in the Emirates have worked to make the country more accessible to Jewish visitors and residents, including offering in-house kosher meals on Emirates Airlines flights, opening a kosher restaurant in the Burj Khalifa and preparations for the building of more synagogues in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, among other actions.
Tens of thousands of Israelis have already visited the country since the agreement was signed.