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Saturday, May 1, 2010

GPS to support food inspection in Dubai

BY PMA RASHEED
17 March 2010, The Gulf Today

The Dubai government is currently in the process of installing GPS (Global Positioning System) devices at all kinds of food service establishments in the Emirate in order to support the municipal food inspection procedures.
The revolutionary step in the food safety inspection system comes in light of a more than expected proliferation of foodstuff establishments, bio-diversity of cultures and dietary habits.
The GPS technology will further facilitate the inspection processes to locate erring restaurants, eateries and other catering service providers, according to a senior official at Dubai Municipality (DM).
The civic body has already completed installing GPS devices in more than 1,000 food servicing establishments in different part of the Emirate, said Adnan Al Jallaf, Head of Animal Products Control Section at the Municipality.
"Stores, butcheries, supermarkets, other shops selling fish and meat, as well as food factories and processing units are included in the food establishments where the GPS devices have been installed," he added.
"The municipal survey to install the positioning system will aim at involving all establishments before the end of the year. Approximately 10 per cent of the total food establishments operating in the Emirate are food factories," pointed out Al Jallaf.
According to him, Dubai has become the first food regulatory body in the Arab world to employ the modern technology to empower inspection strategies.
"Adoption of the system will ensure full coverage of all food establishments in the emirate, in terms of periodic inspection because it contributes to the adaptation to different circumstances and constraints through which the inspection process will go through," explained Al Jallaf.
He said the GPS advantage will help the municipality to cover any area in the event of the absence or resignation of the inspector in that particular area by the other inspectors.
"It also will reduce the waste of time and fuel consumed in the process of searching for establishments," he noted.
"The GPS devices also offer the possibility of visiting an establishment by the section heads and department director without any inspectors accompanying them," he added.
Al Jallaf noted that the GPS would assist the section heads to review the health status directly. It would also ensure that response communications are faster at the emirate level.
The methods of food inspection system in Dubai are currently being revamped, foreseeing the future challenges and external factors associated with the increasing population in the Emirate.
The Municipality is imparting intensive training to inspectors as part of a uniform approach in dealing with irregularities and to determine the impact on the safety of the final product.

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