Dubai tightens food regulations during Ramadan

Random daily inspections by Dubai Municipality will continue through the month

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Bakeries and sweets shops in Dubai can no longer display food outdoors during Ramadan following strict new rules enforced by Dubai Municipality.

“We have made it compulsory for all establishments wishing to display their products outside to obtain the prior permission of the Food Safety Department,” said Sultan Al Tahir, head of the municipality’s food inspection section.

Random daily inspections will continue through the month.

Circulars in multiple languages were sent to restaurants and kitchens setting out maintain hygienic conditions, cook food at the appropriate temperature, monitor the preservation processes and protect the items from pollutants.

“The temperature level should be more than 65°C for hot storage and less than 5°C for cold storage. Keeping food at dangerous temperature leads to food decay and cases of food poisoning,” Mr Al Tahir said.

Checks on safe preparation and preservation of food and beverages will be the main focus of inspection teams during Ramadan.

Specialised inspections in warehouses aimed at raising safety levels due to the increased quantities of food prepared during Ramadan and to ensure the health of consumers, Mr Al Tahir said.

The checks would include supervision of traditional food being cooked in public kitchens.

There would also be tighter controls on food transportation vehicles to ensure compliance with the technical specifications.

Other food items that would be covered under the inspections were ready-to-eat foodstuff with visits to bakeries, confectioneries and factories of dairy products.

Municipality officers had inspected 80 establishments this week including warehouses that store rice, flour and juices for supply to stores during Ramadan, Mr Al Tahir said.

Food shipments had increased with larger stock displayed at supermarkets, hypermarkets and cooperative societies and this was the reason the inspection campaign was launched a week before Ramadan, he said.

Inspectors over the years had found that the most frequent violations occurred when temperature controls were  not monitored causing spoilage.

Ramadan tents that provide meals for iftar and suhoor would also be covered to ensure hygienic conditions were maintained.

Meals provided to different mosques in the emirate by charity organizations would be subject to random checks to ensure the correct procedures were carried out.