UAE | Health

Rotten fruit sourced for juice drinks in some Dubai cafeterias

Municipality tightens crackdown on cafeterias making juices out of rotten fruit

  • By Mariam M. Al Serkal, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 13:22 January 26, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Courtesy: Mohammad Zeeshan
  • Rotten papayas displayed in a cafeteria. Rotten fruit is harmful and can cause inflammation, diarrhoea or nausea. Antibiotics may be needed depending on the severity of the illness.

Dubai: The clock is ticking for cafeteria employees across the emirate who think they can fool customers by making juices out of rotten fruit – the municipality is cracking down on errant eateries.

Municipal officials are asking residents to immediately notify authorities on their toll-free number if they see such practices taking place in an effort to head off illness set off by toxins and bacteria in decomposing fruits

“The municipality focuses on the quality and safety of food outlets in Dubai, and people should not use spoilt food for any kind of sale,” said Bashir Yousef, Food Safety Expert at the Food Control Department, Dubai Municipality. He also noted that the municipality pays a great deal of attention on the practices of food outlets, and take necessary action based on the risk factors including bad hygienic practices.

Sultan Al Taher, Head of Food Inspection Section at Dubai Municipality, explained that food inspectors are required on a daily basis to carry out routine and random inspections, in addition to following up on complaints. The municipality considers groceries and supermarkets as a low risk to the public while restaurants and cafeterias are graded as high risk.

“There are different teams of inspectors that focus on certain premises and in my section, inspectors monitor food in cafeterias, restaurants, groceries, hotels and schools. If food outlets are found to be violating health and safety rules, they will first be issued with a warning,” he said.

Al Taher added that fines will be issued if the violations continue and if the food establishment fails to respond accordingly, it will then be shut down.

One resident said he was appalled to see fruit covered in fungus, which was laid out a few days ago in the cafeteria’s display.

“I was in Naif and stopped at one cafeteria, and was really shocked to see that [the worker] was making juice from fruits that were rotten and had fungus. I went close to the shelves and saw so many insects on the guavas, but the man did not care and used them for the juice,” explained Mohammed Zeeshan.

“These fruits are like poison and can cause harm when swallowed, and I hope that others will think twice before ordering juice on the phone because they do know what kind of fruits are being used,” he said.

Ingesting any form of mould can cause harmful effects on the body, and a nutritional expert has pointed out that the side effects may need to be treated with antibiotics.

“It is definitely not good because any kind of mould is harmful and can cause inflammation, stomach upset, diarrhoea or nausea. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, it may need to be treated with antibiotics which in turn kills the good and the bad bacteria,” said Dr Waffa Al Bassam, Dietician and Diabetic Educator at Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Centre.

“We then need to introduce good bacteria back into the body because the person [may otherwise be prone to] gastro-intestinal problems and constipation, which can be treated with probiotics that are found in live cultured yoghurt and Greek yoghurt,” she stressed.

When contacted by Gulf News, a food safety expert agreed that while diners should not ingest food with fungus, they should also focus particular caution on nuts and grains as that food type is the most harmful if ingested when rotten.

Comments (4)

  1. Added 18:46 January 27, 2013

    Sir, The authorities cannot escape by mere saying if anybody come across fraudulent way of making food items should call toll free numbers. Instead, they should make surprise visit to these outlets and assess the situation. The municipality gave clean chit to groceries and Supermarkets, with out realizing the flow of food stuff. How these cafeterias and restaurants collect stale fruits and vegetables? Are they collecting it from garbage? Never, there is collusion between these stakeholders. For instance in cafeteria the fruits on display may be attractive and fresh. But what they use to make juices is unknown and may not be from the displayed items .Nobody other than authority can inspect the process involved and the level of manipulation they commit. Make sure consumer rights are being protected always

    Girish R Edathitta, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:56 January 27, 2013

    Every food outlet should place toll free number of food authority people can make complaint easily, and most of cafeteria and small restaurant workers not keeping hygiene cleaning the table, taking food items with same hand without glove

    Abdul Rafeek, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 15:34 January 27, 2013

    The authorities must have to take action against low class Restaurants and Cafeterias also. More than 80% of them are using outdated and decayed vegetables for cooking. Also the cleanliness also very pathetic. Many times I wondered that how they are getting permission for running their business with this surroundings.

    Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 09:47 January 27, 2013

    A very good post I must say to create awareness and negate this faulty practice by cafeteria owners. Please advise the toll free number that one can call to complain.

    Zeenath, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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