Abu Dhabi: Food safety officials in Abu Dhabi are conducting inspection campaigns in three phases to ensure safety and quality of food during Ramadan, a senior official told Gulf News on Wednesday.

The first-phase inspections focused on the storage of food products at warehouses and outlets during the one week preceding Ramadan and the second phase, which started on Wednesday, will concentrate on quality of foods and services offered by all outlets including restaurants, Thamer Al Qasimi, director of Communications and Community Services Department at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), said in an interview.

“Food businesses stock huge quantity of food during the week before Ramadan to meet the increased demand and our inspectors made it sure that all norms on storage were strictly followed,” he said.

He said inspectors will continue to monitor the storage practices throughout the holy month. However, their focus during the second phase of the campaign will be on food handling and related services offered by business that will cater to increased number of customers.

“We will make it sure that food businesses do not dilute the food safety rules during this busy season,” Al Qasimi said.

As chicken and meat consumption go up during this month, inspectors will pay special attention to meat stalls and butcheries.

The third phase of the campaign will begin during the last week of Ramadan with special attention on livestock and meat, along with all aspects of food safety, the official said.

It is illegal to slaughter animals outside the slaughterhouses and strict action will be taken against the violators. Slaughterhouses charge a nominal fee only, which helps prevent contamination of meat. The number of slaughterhouses in the emirate and their capacity have considerably increased in recent years, making it easy for people to access the slaughtering services, Al Qasimi explained.

He said it is common for rumourmongers to create a nuisance during Ramadan every year. “We have already busted many rumours about plastic rice, plastic eggs etc.”

Al Qasimi urged the public not to believe rumours spread on social media and to contact the authority through Abu Dhabi Government Contact Centre (800 555) or the ADFCA’s official accounts on social media, to raise their complaints or concerns.

Food safety tips

1. Avoid purchasing food products for the whole month. Weekly shopping will minimise wastage.

2. Shop smartly: buy cold food at last; do not mix vegetables and meat, chemical products [like detergents etc.] and foods.

3. Wash your hands after shopping as shopping trolleys carry germs

4. After shopping, go home straight and store foods in fridge immediately to avoid contamination.

5. Read the food label and storage instructions on temperature etc. and store the food accordingly.

6. While cooking, heat up to the point that all germs in the food disappear.

7. While serving food, avoid using plastic plates.

8. Use leftover foods carefully and store them properly.

— Courtesy: ADFCA