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Butchery counter closed after third hygiene breach

Abu Dhabi official cites pattern at LuLu store in Al Wahda Mall, after fresh-meat counter at a branch of the supermarket chain closed.

ABU DHABI // The fresh-meat counter at a branch of the LuLu supermarket chain was closed for three days after failing its third hygiene inspection in 12 months, a food standards official confirmed yesterday. The butchery department at the LuLu supermarket in Al Wahda Mall was closed on the orders of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, which carried out an inspection at the store last Wednesday.

Abdellatif Eldaw Yousif, the manager of the specialised inspection team at the authority, said no one had fallen ill as a result of the food-safety breaches. He said that in the last year, two other violations of food hygiene standards had been observed at the store, part of one of the UAE's most popular food retail chains. The authority did not say exactly what the hygiene violations were. "We do not close down a premises the first time they fail an inspection. We will give them a warning, but if they fail again and again, then we will close them," Mr Yousif said.

"They have some history of this. This is the third time this year they have failed inspections. "The inspection was carried out at around 7am on Wednesday. We found a situation that was not satisfactory and so we took action," he said. "Nobody got sick as a result of the situation at the supermarket. It was part of a routine set of inspections." The fresh-meat section was closed from Thursday to Saturday, and notices were displayed on food counters. It reopened yesterday.

A LuLu spokesman declined to answer questions from The National about the violations and closure. Shoppers at the store expressed their shock at the news. "I had no idea about this incident. It is not fair that people are not told about these kind of things," said Noha Tahan, 45. "I am certainly not going to buy meat from here. I wouldn't want to take any chances with the health of my family." Um Shadi, 37, said: "I am cutting down on meat at the moment anyway. I don't plan to start eating meat for a while. I have heard of this happening at other supermarkets in Abu Dhabi.

"I think it is a good idea that the authorities are being hard on the supermarkets. Usually the standards of food hygiene in this country are pretty good." A shopper who identified herself only as Aline, 40, said: "I am glad that you told me about the fact it had been closed. "I usually buy meat from the LuLu in Khalidiya, but I was passing by here today so I thought I would come to this store instead. I will not be buying any meat from here today. If they don't change the staff, then I doubt I will be buying anything from that counter any time soon." chamilton@thenational.ae hhaddad@thenational.ae

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