First Ever Middle East Veg Congress held in Dubai

The National, UAE | via IVU | 12/08/10

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The first vegetarian congress ever to be held in the Middle East has been getting a lot of coverage in the local media. Some examples below from United Arab Emirates newspaper, The National.

photo left: Dr Ahmed al Masoum speaking in front of the giant logo at the congress.


Dubai event encourages a vegetarian lifestyle
The National, Dec 6

Fruitarian, vegan or raw foodie? If you have wondered what the difference is, then the Meveg Congress, opening today, might be the thing for you.

The two-day event at the Dubai World Trade Centre brings together 16 proponents of healthy living from as far as Singapore, Russia and the United States.

The effort seeks to convince audiences that ditching meat, even if only for a few days each week, can help people and the planet to become healthier.

That message is particularly relevant in the UAE, which has very high levels of diabetes and obesity, as well as a deep environmental footprint in the world.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the UAE has the highest per-capita footprint at 10.68 hectares. This indicates what portion of the planet's natural resources people living here need to sustain their lifestyles.

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Vegans call for 'veg' symbol on labels Dec 5 (also appeared in The National Dec 8)

The Middle East Vegetarian Group (Meveg), a voluntary vegetarian not-for-profit  focus body affiliated to the International Vegetarian Union (IVU), on Sunday called on the UAE authorities to introduce mandatory 'Veg' symbols on food labels to identify products that are suitable for the rising number of vegetarians in the Emirates.

Representatives of Meveg said on the eve of the first Meveg Congress in the UAE that it has highlighted the need for the proposed 'Veg' symbol initiative in its interactions with the UAE government authorities and is awaiting further discussions on the topic. The congress will run from December 6-7 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre with an array of expert speakers
stressing the benefits of vegetarianism to promote eco-friendly lifestyle, sustainability, peace and harmony.

Sandhya Prakash, Founder-Director, Meveg, said: 'Vegetarians are a rising lot in the UAE and the awareness of the benefits of vegetarian lifestyle has percolated to people of all walks of life.

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Eat more sea salt, says expert
The National, Dec 7

DUBAI // Fruit and vegetables irrigated with desalinated water or through hydroponic growing systems lack dozens of essential minerals needed to keep people healthy, a salinity expert says.

To avoid mineral deficiencies, Dr Ahmed al Masoum, the deputy director general of the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) in Dubai, said sea salt should replace table salt in people's kitchens, and farms should use small amounts of seawater in growing.

"The greatest source of [vitamins and minerals] is the food we eat," Dr al Masoum said. "However, mineral depletion and deficiencies exist, everyone is lacking one or two elements, and we usually make them up with food supplements."

Dr al Masoum was presenting a talk entitled "The effects of saltwater on high value fruits and vegetables" as part of the inaugural MeVeg Congress at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The congress has brought together expert speakers to discuss vegetarianism and environmentally sustainable lifestyles.

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