x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Three restaurants shut over hygiene violations

Municipal food inspectors closed three restaurants during Eid al Fitr, citing hygiene violations and technical breaches.

DUBAI // Municipal food inspectors closed three restaurants during Eid al Fitr, citing hygiene violations and technical breaches. The businesses would not be allowed to resume serving food until they had corrected the problems that inspectors cited, a Dubai Municipality official said. In addition, they would have to submit their menus to the municipality for approval, and their employees would have to undergo a training course prescribed by the authorities.

The Eid closings followed the shutting down of 65 food outlets, ranging from cafeterias to small eateries, in the first half of the year. Food safety came sharply into focus this year after the deaths of several young children were linked to food poisoning. Spoilt food was blamed for the deaths in June of Nathan and Chelsea D'Souza, ages five and eight. Also in June, the death of Marwa Faisal, a four-year-old from Sharjah, was blamed on food poisoning, as was the July death of two-year-old Rishad Pranav in Dubai.

Speaking about the recent inspections, Ahmed Abdul Rahman al Ali, the head of Dubai Municipality's food inspection section, said the three shutdowns occurred during a round of nearly 200 inspections conducted during Eid. Inspections were stepped up for the holiday, a time when many people eat out after emerging from the strictures of the holy month of Ramadan. Thirteen inspectors and four health officers were deployed, with a focus on public kitchens and restaurants in popular commercial centres, Mr al Ali said.

"Three visits were with administrative orders to stop the restaurants from work due to failure to match technical specifications and incompatibility with the requirements of hygiene standards approved by the food control department," he said. According to inspection reports, in several food establishments, employees were found without occupational health cards. They were ordered to stop working, and their employers received warnings.

The most common violations involved inadequate hygiene; poor food storage, including keeping food at inappropriate temperatures; a failure to separate various kinds of food; and storage of food directly on the ground. Employees at a number of food outlets were seen working without uniforms, the inspectors noted. The failure to wear work uniforms "is linked to the extent of the commitment of the employees in food establishments to hygiene and wearing gloves and hair covers", Mr al Ali said.