DM launches Ramadan food safety campaign
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People purchasing groceries in preparation of the holy month of Ramadan in Al Twar in Dubai on Tuesday
The Food Control Department of the Dubai Municipality has launched a food safety campaign under the slogan ‘Safe Food Saves Food’ during Ramadan, said Khalid Mohammed Shareef Al Awadhi, Director of the department.
“The Ramadan campaign for the year addresses two very important issues — food safety and food wastage. Our campaign titled ‘Safe Food Saves Food’ aims to educate the public and the industry on the importance of food safety and how food safety rules by the DM help them to reduce food wastage,” he said.
Five golden rulesAsia Abdul Wahab Murad, Head of Development and Planning at the department, said during the campaign, the municipality recommends everyone to follow five golden rules:
Rule 1. Plan ahead for the amount of food you wish to prepare based on the number of people and serving size;
Rule 2. Limit the time between preparation and serving — the easiest and the safest way is to cook and serve immediately;
Rule 3. Store food safely after preparation — hot food should be held hot above 60 degree Celsius and cold food should be held cold below 5 degree Celsius. If this is not possible, food should be eaten within two hours after preparation;
Rule 4. Transport food safely in hot boxes or chilled vehicles. Follow Rule 3 for temperature control;
Rule 5. Buy safe: Don’t buy food/snacks that are sold in open condition on the street side and foods sold by unapproved vendors.
According to Asia, cooked rice, meat, cut fruits, salads, desserts with milk, cream and eggs etc should always be held under temperature control as recommended above. Cooked hot foods should be held at 60 degree Celsius and cold foods should be held below 5 degree Celsius. Such foods should be eaten within two hours of preparation if the facilities to store food at that temperature are not available.
“Since the weather is hot, cold foods such as salads and desserts can become unsafe very fast. These are high-risk foods and should be kept chilled or prepared and eaten immediately. Such foods should not be left at room temperature for a long time,” she added.
Special inspections“We will intensify our inspection drive during Ramadan. As we have to be on high alert in relation to possible food safety incidents in Ramadan, we will categorically check and monitor groceries, malls and traditional kitchens,” said Sultan Taher, Head of the Food Inspection Section at the department.
“We started the inspection programme targeting groceries in Dubai last June and will be continued with more emphasis during Ramadan. Out of 1,450 groceries we inspected, 54 were found not up to the mark. Some of them were found having a bad storage system and switching off refrigerators in the night. We have given the faulty ones two weeks time to correct their mistakes,” he continued.
During Ramadan, inspectors will be in the field from 1pm to 6pm and from 8pm to 2am to find out if any violation of the rules happens. He said the drive is also targeting 55 traditional kitchens in Dubai and the officials have finished the process in Al Quoz, Al Qusais and Nad Al Sheba.