Friday, August 28, 2009

31 Dubai restaurants fined

Penalised for flouting health measures, unlawful display of food
The Gulf Today, 27 Aug 2009

At least 31 eateries in Dubai were penalised for violating regulations on food safety and hygiene measures in displaying Ramadan snacks outside their premises, since the beginning of Ramadan.
Dubai Municipality (DM) had asked restaurants, cafeterias and other eateries in the emirate to obtain special approval for selling Ramadan dishes and snacks displayed outside their premises during the Holy Month. The approval is provided upon conditions of complying with the civic body's regulations on food safety, and public health measures.
The civic body has granted 141 temporary permits to restaurants as of Wednesday, for displaying the food items targeting Ramadan customers, a senior DM official said.
Drive strengthened
Abdul Azeez Basheer, a senior food inspection officer at DM, told The Gulf Today that the inspection campaign to trap erring eateries and restaurants, that street-vend snacks and food items without permission by not complying with the food safety regulations, has been strengthened.
"A number of popular food outlets were fined for not applying the DM's requirements of health and food safety. Most of the irregularities have been discovered in the unhygienic methods of food handling and unclean food preparation," he added.
According to him, the inspectors of the food control department have been carrying out daily inspections in different parts of the emirate. Several popular kitchens, restaurants, cafeterias and food outlets have been inspected so far.
Regulations memo
Ahmed Abdel Rahman Al Ali, Head of the Food Inspection Section at the DM's Food Control Department, said, "The DM had issued a memorandum specifically providing the requirements on the methods of preparing and showcasing food items at restaurants and outside their premises during the Ramadan."
He added that the regulations come in line as the practice is popular in the region, to display snacks and dishes outside cafeterias and restaurants during Ramadan. So, all of the food outlets operational in the emirate should ensure safety and hygienic measures for customer's consumption, especially since they traditionally prefer to purchase the Iftar foods sold in the streets.
“Moreover, the month of Ramadan this year is witnessing high temperatures that may lead to quick damage to the prepared food items if they are not stored scientifically," Al Ali pointed out.
He noted that the eateries obtaining the separate approval from the Municipality should sell the Ramadan snack foods in closed display cases in clean areas that free of spills, dirt and pests.
Food safety measures
According to Bobby Krishna, a senior food safety officer at the municipality, the snacks with stuffed high-risk foods such as meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and eggs should be held hot at or above 65 degrees Celsius, and cold items have to be stored below 5 degrees.
"Certain snacks like Pakoras or fries that are not stuffed can be kept without hot holding, not exceeding two hours since the time of their preparation. The fried food items should be prepared using high quality and pure cooking oil," he said.
"We are checking the equipment in food outlets to keep the cooked food items in hot holding. Reheating processes also will be monitored," added Krishna.

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