Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has started taking stringent action against catering companies serving low-quality food to labour accommodations in the western region of the emirate.
An inspection campaign last week targeting 35 catering companies serving food to thousands workers in the region found that only about 25 per cent of them  were complying with the food safety rules and regulations, ADFCA said yesterday.
“This shows we have a major task ahead to prompt about 75 per cent of them to follow the food safety rules, but we are confident about our mission,” a senior official told Gulf News yesterday.
The authority charged 18 companies for food safety violations as they were working without a license, said Mohammad Jalal Al Reyaysa, Director of Communication and Community Service at ADFCA.
He said some of them did not bother to renew their licenses after the expiry dates. Some companies were using vehicles for transportation and distribution of food that did not have the required permits for the purpose. He said those violators will be referred to the court for further legal action.
The authority also issued warnings against 7 catering companies and destroyed 728 kilograms of food items.
He said unlicensed catering in labour accommodations would be severely dealt with. “We had communicated time and again to all the catering firms and labour camps [accommodations] that no one was allowed to cater food to labour accommodations without a proper license for the purpose. Stringent action will be taken against the violators. The safety of the workers in the labour accommodations is no less important than the safety of others and we will not allow anyone to expose such an important section of people living in our midst to food risks, illnesses and even death,” he added.
“We got in touch with the Ministry of Labour to transfer the files regarding all the companies in the Western Region in order to make sure all the catering activities are carried out in strict adherence to the rules and regulation and under ADFCA license.” Al Reyaysa said.
The official warned that “if anyone thinks we will turn a blind eye to what is happening in the labour accommodations, they are mistaken. Our mission is to make sure no unsafe food practices are carried out anywhere in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. We call upon people, especially labourers in the emirate, to bring to our notice any food safety violations they notice in their camps [accommodations] by calling the toll free number 800555,” he said.