x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Chilis reopens after 'misunderstanding'

Chili's restaurant reopens a day after food control authority shut it down for health violations.

DUBAI //The Hamdan Street branch of Chilis, the popular chain restaurant, has reopened just a day after being closed for breaching hygiene standards.

Management at the worldwide chain with 19 restaurants in the UAE said it had rectified problems found by Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority inspectors.

A statement issued by Saleh bin Lahej Group's hospitality division, which manages the chain the UAE, said it was open and serving customers yesterday afternoon.

"In compliance with the safety-related observations addressed to the restaurant by Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) on June 1, Chili's continues to rise up with immediate actions taken overtime on all of the said safety concerns."

ADFCA said the Hamdan Street branch had over flowing sewage pipes and cans of spices were improperly stored on cutting boards used for meat. Also, the staff were not wearing hair nets.

Ahmed Gamil Helal, marketing, sales and advertising director at the Saleh bin Lahej Group's hospitality division said his company has numerous hygiene training courses for its staff that have been approved by Abu Dhabi and Dubai authorities.

"It was closed for 18 hours," Mr Helal said. "It was a misunderstanding; for the government there were some issues."

This is the second time in two weeks that inspectors have closed down a popular restaurant due to health offences, although it is the first time an international chain has been involved.

On May 23, ADFCA closed Al Ibrahimi Restaurant in the Madinat Zayed district of the capital after inspectors discovered the premises were infested with cockroaches and signs of rodents were found in the basement kitchen.

The restaurant was also found to be insufficiently lit and there was not enough ventilation in the cooking areas.

Each year, the food authority organises thousands of spot checks of restaurants and groceries.

In 2009, the authority issued 15,000 warnings and fines and closed 76 establishments.

eharnan@thenational.ae