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.