Chili's closed by health violations, authority says

The restaurant will stay shut until all the issues are addressed, the Food Control Authority says.

June 1, 2011 (Abu Dhabi) The Chilis restaurant off of Hamdan Street in Abu Dhabi was closed by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority for health violation June 1, 2011. (Sammy Dallal / The National)
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ABU DHABI // A branch of the popular Chili’s restaurant chain in Abu Dhabi was shut down on Wednesday after overflowing sewage pipes were discovered in the kitchen.

Inspectors from the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) found the Hamdan Street branch of the US franchise had broken a host of food safety regulations.

“The hygienic conditions in the restaurant were so bad that the authority decided to immediately order its closure in the interest of public health and safety,” said a statement released by ADFCA.

Cans of spices were improperly stored on cutting boards which were meant to be used to prepare cooked meats.

The restaurant was also criticised for a “lack of commitment of all staff to cover their hair in the preparation area” and storing cooking equipment in an electrical room.

“The types of violations found in the Chili’s restaurant could have caused many health hazards for the consumers,” said Mohamed al Reyaysa, the director of communication and community service at ADFCA.

“The safety of the consumers is of paramount importance for us and we will not be lenient with regard to any negligence or violation, regardless of the size, reputation or popularity of the food outlet,” he said.

Closure decisions are usually taken after an establishment has been warned about irregularities and failed to correct them.

The Chili’s location will remain closed until it fixes its problems, ADFCA said in a press release.

Staff at the branch said they were unable to comment on the closure.

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.

Last Monday, ADFCA temporarily closed Al Ibrahimi Restaurant’s branch 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.