x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Food safety inspectors fine shops ahead of Ramadan

Four businesses have been fined after pre-Ramadan checks at 50 capital food outlets.

Omar Al Hussaini, left, and Mansour Adb El Latif, of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, check produce and trays with Bashar Abdullah Al Ismail, the pastry head of Qaider Al Nabulsi Sweets.
Omar Al Hussaini, left, and Mansour Adb El Latif, of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, check produce and trays with Bashar Abdullah Al Ismail, the pastry head of Qaider Al Nabulsi Sweets.

ABU DHABI // In the kitchen of the Qaider Al Nabulsi sweet shop, eggs sit alongside trays of cakes inside the chiller.

"These shouldn't be here," said Mansour Abd El Latif, one of two Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority inspectors who visited the patisserie in Khalidiyah. "You'll have to store them separately."

He and Omar Al Hussaini opened cupboards, rummaged through fridges, examined the kitchen floor, the ceiling and the temperature of the fridges, and checked for production and expiry dates.

Mr El Latif said the Arabic sweets on display, packaged for sale, did not have production and expiry dates. The staff assured him that these were freshly baked and they had yet to label them.

None of these problems, though, are serious enough for a warning, much to the relief of Bashar Abdullah Al Ismail, the head of the shop's pastry section. It was the second time the inspectors had called this month. "They were here 15 days ago," said Mr Al Ismail. "And we didn't receive any fines."

Yesterday, seven pairs of inspectors visited about 50 shops in Khalidiyah, Tourist Club, Bateen, Karama, Muroor and Airport areas, in a pre-Ramadan sweep of the capital's bakeries and sweets shops.

They destroyed 8kg of expired food and issued four fines and 15 warnings, according to Mohammed Abdullah Al Fardan, the deputy director of the communications and community service department at the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority. One of the warnings was to the bakery section at the LuLu supermarket in Khalidiyah Mall.

There, Mr El Latif opened a container labelled dry cake mix, and found flies inside. Water was dripping from the ceiling, and the air conditioning in the back of the bakery section was damaged. "Why is the temperature warm here?" he asked.

Wenceslao Correa, the fresh food manager at LuLu, said the store had already called a maintenance company, and the AC would be fixed today. "We're rectifying it," he said. "And there were just two to three flies. We'll throw them [the products] away ... But I can't go to each and every corner every day."

Packed loaves in the kitchen also lacked expiry dates.

The inspectors will return today to see if the situation has improved.

rruiz@thenational.ae