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Home    Forty-two restaurants and cafeterias shut shop last year     Details
Forty-two restaurants and cafeterias shut shop last year

Dubai: Forty-two food establishments, including restaurants and cafeterias were closed for various violations by the Dubai Municipality last year.

These establishments faced temporary closures and were allowed to reopen after taking corrective measures, a senior Dubai Municipality official told XPRESS.

The violations, which included lack of general cleanliness and use of expired foodstuffs, came to light during regular inspections in addition to inspections conducted in response to customer complaints received by the municipality.

“When the violation is serious and, at times when an outlet fails to respond or take corrective measures despite warnings, we may have to decide to close.

“Last year, 42 food outlets were closed and all of these closures were temporary. We gave the outlets time to take measures as required after which they were allowed to operate again,” Sultan Ali Tahir, Head of the Food Inspection Section of the Dubai Municipality, told XPRESS.

Residents filed nearly 2,200 complaints about food — ranging from finding hair in food products to the sale of expired food and even a lack of hygiene in restaurants.

The worst violations included pests in the environment, food being contaminated in various stages of preparation and storage, display of expired foods and also a lack of general cleanliness.

While the problem of pests was found in 645 outlets, more than 800 were caught displaying expired foods and almost a similar number of outlets fared poorly when it came to general cleanliness.

The inspections were conducted in various categories of food outlets such as restaurants, groceries and school canteens.

When a violation is detected, the food establishment faces a penalty and is warned to take remedial action. If the violation is repeated, the fine is doubled.

According to food safety experts, a resident should be conscious of the overall cleanliness and safety of the food one is consuming.

“If you encounter a violation, you can call 800-900 to register your complaint, but it is also important that you pay attention to the food you are consuming,” said Basheer Hassan, Food Safety Expert at the Dubai Municipality.

Giving tips to ensure that the food you eat is safe, Hassan said one should see whether food items in the buffet are being kept hot, while items that need to remain chilled shouldn’t be warm.

In both cases, there are chances of increased microbial growth in the food due to temperature abuse. Food should also smell fresh and food handlers should be clean. In fact, the place where food is consumed should be clean overall.

The Dubai Municipality, with a view to minimising these violations and enhancing food safety, also launched a Person In Charge (PIC) programme last year that requires all food businesses to have a PIC who is trained and certified in food safety.

The civic body also started inspections of school canteens last week to ensure that the food supplier is approved and the food available in canteens is safe for consumption.

Source: Gulf News

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