COVID-19: 900 food outlets fined in UAE for flouting hygiene rules

Adafsa's inspection drive bids to uphold public health safety amid outbreak

  
People sit in a restaurant after its reopening at 30% capacity, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dubai, United Arab Emirates May 13, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

People sit in a restaurant after its reopening at 30% capacity, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dubai, United Arab Emirates May 13, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Abdel Hadi Ramahi

The authorities in Abu Dhabi had fined over 900 food outlets, including restaurants, eateries and other establishments, last year on charges of flouting hygiene norms in a bid to uphold public health safety amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (Adafsa) said on Wednesday that the violations were detected during 150,419 inspections carried out on food outlets in the UAE’s largest emirate last year.

The Adafsa took 36,037 administration action against those facilities that failed to comply with food safety norms.

Data showed that 31,014 warnings, and 4,056 notices were issued, and another 967 violations came to light.

“Altogether 20,664, or 57 per cent of, actions were taken against food facilities, including 18,242 warnings, and 1,781 notices were issued, and 641 violations were detected, in Abu Dhabi city. In Al Ain, 10,699, or 30 per cent, actions were taken against food facilities, including 8,248 warnings, and 2,238 notices and 213 violations were detected,” said the Adafsa in a statement.

“Similarly, 4,674, or 13 per cent, of administrative actions were taken against Al Dhafra’s food facilities, including 4,524 warnings, and 37 notices were issued, and 113 violations came to light.”

The inspections were part of the authority’s efforts to ensure the emirate’s food safety.

Adafsa said it conducts routine visits to monitor compliance with norms and ascertain the facilities’ commitment to correct malpractices, and closure notices are issued for repeat offences.

The inspections target food catering facilities, restaurants, food stores, distribution centres, retail outlets and all facilities undertaking food-related activities in the regions across the emirate.

Adafsa aims to tighten control over all food facilities, enforce Law No. 2 of 2008 on food in the emirate and ensure the adoption of the best public health safety standards.

Adafsa keen on implementing Covid-19 safety measures

The inspections also focused on monitoring the implementation of public health requirements and precautionary measures issued by Adafsa to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and, in turn, promoting food safety and community well-being.

“Adafsa’s inspectors strive to ensure the commitment of food facilities to hygiene and food safety measures, especially in places dedicated to store, prepare and display foods. They are working on raising awareness about food safety practices, including proper ways for preserving and storing food, the cleanliness of kitchens, personal hygiene, and the provision of adequate sanitisers in the facility,” said officials.

”Besides, food workers are educated about the importance of washing hands in designated places, wearing protective clothing, such as head cover, masks and gloves, and closing any openings in storage facilities’ doors and windows in a bid to keep the raging contagion at bay,” they added.

The authority has called on consumers to report any violations they detect in any food facility by contacting Abu Dhabi Government’s Contact Centre on 800555. The move will help the authority’s inspectors take the necessary action, to ensure providing safe and healthy food to all consumers across the emirate, the officials added.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

Ismail Sebugwaawo

 

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