It’s last or­ders for dodgy restau­rants

Eater­ies warned: clean up or shut down

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Sar­wat Nasir and Nawal Al Ra­hami @7DAYSUAE

Hun­dreds of food out­lets have been put on a watch­list by the au­thor­i­ties for fail­ing to meet ba­sic hy­giene stan­dards, with the worst found to have cock­roaches in their kitchens.

The Food In­spec­tion Sec­tion at Dubai Mu­nic­i­pal­ity said vis­its will be stepped up for 670 ‘ac­cept­able’ or ‘weak’ eater­ies. More than 160 other out­lets have been shut down, al­though they have been given a chance to turn their busi­nesses around. Many were in Deira and Bur Dubai, of­fi­cials said.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity car­ried out close to 24,000 in­spec­tions be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber. A to­tal of 1,084 were rated ‘ex­cel­lent’ and 312 have been given a new ‘gold’ award for high stan­dards.

Sul­tan Ali Al Tahir, Head of Food In­spec­tion, told 7DAYS that along with recog­nis­ing the best, there has to be ac­tion taken against the worst of­fend­ers.

He said: “Food out­lets were tem­po­rar­ily closed for vi­o­lat­ing health and safety reg­u­la­tions.

“The 163 out­lets were found to be the worst in fol­low­ing health and hy­giene rules. For ex­am­ple, they were not clean, they didn’t meet spe­cific pest con­trol re­quire­ments. In­spec­tors found cock­roaches in some food out­lets.”

He said cheap cafe­te­rias, shawarma stands and restau­rants were among those pe­nalised.

Last month, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity said it had sent letters to 572 shawarma out­lets in the city, ex­plain­ing new health and safety guide­lines af­ter be­com­ing con­cerned at stan­dards.

But in­spec­tors said 25 per cent – 141 out­lets – did not take any ac­tion “at all” and an­other 20 per cent – 113 – stopped serv­ing rather than meet the new rules.

Al Tahir said a com­mon trend was for out­lets with cafe­te­ria li­cences, which al­lows them to sell snacks and drinks, turn­ing them­selves into restau­rants. He said: “They aren’t al­lowed to do that. Cafe­te­rias have a small space, so they can’t be op­er­at­ing as a restau­rant. “They don’t have enough room, it makes the area less san­i­tary.” Al Tahir also said out­lets need to en­sure buf­fet out­lets are stor­ing food at 5C or be­low and hot food items at above 60C. A man­ager should also be present dur­ing when­ever staff are pre­par­ing food to en­sure it is done so prop­erly.

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