Dubai: Authorities have closed down as many as 141 shawarma outlets for failing to comply with health and safety standards.
That makes 25 per cent of shawarma shops in Dubai, according to a senior official at the municipality.
“Out of the 573 shawarma outlets in Dubai, 425 were found to be compliant with our hygiene rules, while seven were in the process of applying the requirements,” said Sultan Ali Al Tahir, Head of Food Inspection Section in the Food Safety Department of Dubai Municipality.
The outlets were shut down after Dubai Municipality recently implemented stringent health and safety requirements, which includes the addition of 29 new conditions for the preparation and sale of shawarma in food establishments, such as cafeterias and small restaurants.
Food establishments had six months to make the necessary changes but those 141 shops did not address the problems.
The main problems discovered in shops included:
- Not properly storing ingredients
- Leaving food out at high temperatures, especially when summer is approaching, which contributes to the proliferation of bacteria
- Not enough space to isolate the ingredients used in the preparation of shawarmas. Meat and chicken are placed together, which causes the occurrence of cross-contamination, as well as with vegetables
“The shawarma machine and the preparation area should be inside the outlet and not exposed to dust and dirt or any source of external pollution. People working on the processing, preparation and sale of Shawarma must be able to work comfortably at those locations,” said Al Tahir.
He pointed out that all food outlets in the emirate should meet the requirements as specified by the municipality's food safety department.
“The new conditions also include planning of the shawarma making area and the distribution of equipment inside it. The area should be suitable for several main operations. Enough space should be provided to defrost the meat as well as for the preparation of shawarmas at various stages,” said Al Taher.
Outlets should have sufficient space to store the necessary equipment and tools, and provide enough room for employees to work in.