x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

New food safety management system on the menu

Abu Dhabi plans to implement the HACCP training system, which will eventually become mandatory.

Abu Dhabi is working on plans to implement a new food safety management system, officials said yesterday.

The emirate is hoping to adopt the HACCP training system, which will eventually become mandatory, for all its food establishments, and which requires documentation and record-keeping which has proven difficult for smaller businesses due to language barriers. The system will involve training without words, instead using images.

"We are looking at systems we believe will get good results," said Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority's communications director. "Training with images has proved to be an excellent idea."

The project includes keeping a food safety diary to monitor practices including cooking, chilling and cleaning. The authority is already working with a few small restaurants, labour camps, schools, hospitals, contract caterers, hotels and traditional kitchens, but the aim is to spread the training to all food establishments in Abu Dhabi.

Researchers at the authority will potentially start producing images in the coming year. "This project is a pioneering initiative to guarantee food safety across the food chain," said Rashid Mohamed Al Shariqi, the authority's director.

The multi-cultural community will face severe challenges, however, as the authority's researchers found that, in more than 40 per cent of Abu Dhabi's small restaurants, there were no Arabic or English speakers. Managers commonly spoke Malayalam, Bengali, Urdu or Hindi.

cmalek@thenational.ae