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Food safety in your hands

Public awareness just as important as official campaigns

Workers at a butchery shop at Madinat Zayed
Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
Workers at a butchery shop at Madinat Zayed. The sale of meat products generally increasesby 60–75 per cent during Ramadan.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has sought to highlight food safety issues considering that Ramadan has coincided with summer’s hottest days this year.

The sale of meat products generally increase by 60–75 per cent during Ramadan while purchases of other food items also sees a significant rise. This calls for consumers to be more aware of food safety.

Senior officials are confident measures taken to prevent food-related complaints during Ramadan will ensure there are fewer incidents that raise cause for concern.

Mohammad Jalal Al Reyaysa, director of communication and community service, ADFCA, told Gulf News: “At the very outset and on behalf of ADFCA, I would like to convey our Ramadan greetings to all, especially to the esteemed readers of Gulf News. I have great pleasure in assuring everyone that the intensive pre-Ramadan inspection campaigns conducted by our inspectors on all types of food establishments have cleared the ground for a safe Ramadan.”

He added: “We have not only taken legal action against violators and warned others against even minor lapses but also taken maximum efforts to deepen awareness on the importance of adhering to all the rules and regulations pertaining to food safety.”

A little care on the part of consumers can go a long way in pre-empting food-borne illnesses, he said.

Al Reyaysa offered a few simple yet effective tips to ensure food safety during Ramadan. “Don’t buy food in Ramadan while you are hungry, you may end up picking up food far beyond your requirements. Avoid piling food up at home, storing it in improper temperature conditions and eventual wastage.

“While buying cereals and other items make sure the packaging is intact, there are no insects or parasites and the cereal is not clumped together.

“Read food labels carefully so you know the ingredients, the additives and the validity period and make sure you know the proper method of storing and consumption.

“While buying canned foods, wash cans before opening and make sure they are free from dents, swelling or rust.

“When buying fish, press it lightly and make sure its skin is solid and firm, eyes bright and shiny, gills a pinkish red and scales firm, with the smell of the sea emanating from it.

“Most importantly, take food you purchased straight home, store right away and don’t keep in the car for long.”

He added: “We wish all readers a comfortable and blessed Ramadan. If you notice any food safety violations in any food outlet in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, please bring it to our notice and we will take stern action immediately.”