BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 7 July 2010
About 245 tonnes of unfit and contaminated food items have been dumped out of the Dubai market, as the civic body intensified its inspections to prevent food poisoning outbreaks during the summer.
On the advent of the summer season, an extensive foodstuff inspection drive was launched last week by Dubai Municipality (DM) aimed at rigorous monitoring of the foodstuff markets in the emirate.
The Municipality inspection team monitored several irregularities such as non-compliance with the hygiene rules, workers not keeping themselves clean and having expired health cards.
Some defective food items were immediately confiscated and destroyed. Poor storage and display of some of the food items in the hot sun at this time of the year as well as some wrong practices of the workers were also detected, according to according to an official at Dubai Municipality (DM).
Sultan Ali Tahir, Head of Products Monitoring Section at the DM, said that two tonnes of rotten fish offered for sale at the stalls in fish markets were found unsafe, during a series of surprise inspection sessions carried out last month. The contaminated fish was immediately destroyed.
“Massive amounts of damaged vegetables and fruits have been confiscated, during the inspections conducted at 554 fresh and other foodstuff selling establishments across the emirate,” he added.
“About 420 kilogrammes of the rotten fish was on sale. About 450 kilogramme of damaged vegetables and fruits items showcased for sale were also destroyed. Hefty fines were issued on the violators for exhibiting and selling such rotten items,” elaborated Tahir.
“About 245 kilogrammes of rotten vegetables and fruits have been confiscated during an inspection session conducted at 315 retail and wholesale establishments operating in the central vegetables and fruits market in Al Aweer. Some vegetables and fruits were found contaminated with pesticide,” he said.
Taher pointed out that a total of 214 offenses were found during the campaign, adding that the inspections will continue and will not stop until the entire foodstuff shops in the market are covered.
“The civic food inspectors are currently touring various food outlets, supermarkets, meat and fish shops in the emirate in order to ensure their compliance with the DM’s hygiene requirements as well as validity of foodstuff showcased for sale,” he noted.
According to him, the elevated temperature conditions in the region can easily cause contamination to the food items such as meat, fish, vegetables and fruits, which becoming unfit for human consumption.
“Stringent legal actions will be taken against the violators of the regulations implemented by the municipality. Round the clock monitoring process are going on to preserve health safety of the residents,” warned Tahir.
“Daily inspections will be carried out at the stalls in Deira, Shindagha and Karama fish markets. Sufficient quantities of ice should use on the fish stock to avoid damage,” he said.
He pointed out that display of fish stock outside the shops in the Karama market has been prohibited. The vendors also were asked to replace old cork boxes by new plastic ones.
“The inspectors also monitor cleanliness of dried fish stalls and packaging processes, to prevent access and the proliferation of insects. Proper maintenance works of such shops, like replacement of old equipment, shelf and platforms are also focused,” pointed out Ali Tahir.
“Workers’ health cards are also checked by the inspectors, who follow up meat products displayed at stalls as well as their storage areas to ensure adherence to safety and hygiene rules," he elaborated.