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Dubai: Dubai Municipality on Tuesday revealed that it has ordered the closure of 32 food establishments for violating precautionary measures to combat COVID-19, and issued warning notices to 472 food outlets since the beginning of this year.

“Within 45 days since the beginning of this year, the municipality inspectors had carried out 5,841 field inspection visits to ensure that the food establishments are adhering to the procedures and controls set by the health authorities to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus,” said Sultan Al Taher, head of Food Inspection Section in the Municipality.

However, a vast majority of food establishments inspected — as many as 5,264 — were found to be complying with safety protocols, he revealed.

What are the violations?

The most prominent violations that were detected were non-compliance with social distancing, and not wearing personal safety equipment such as masks and gloves during food preparation, as well as not using approved sterilisation and disinfection materials, said Al Taher.

He pointed to the increased level of awareness of many owners and workers in food establishments in Dubai, and the commitment to precautionary measures compared to the previous period, which witnessed a greater number of violations.

How can consumers complain?
Al Taher called on all community members to contact the municipality’s toll-free number 800900 to report any violations related to food safety, so that the municipality deals with the establishment immediately, and said that the inspection teams carry out routine inspection visits based on consumers’ reports.

In January, the civic body had said that it had conducted 69,461 field inspection visits to food establishments in 2020, and temporary closure orders were issued to 451 establishments due to their poor hygiene levels.

How is the inspection done?

Al Taher added that the municipality inspectors check, during their supervisory visits, the daily follow-up records for the hygiene of workers and the recording of sterilisation and disinfection operations.

Apart from that they also ensure that food safety requirements are applied during receiving, preparation and storage of food, as well as display at healthy temperatures, and the application of hygiene and sterilisation procedures to prevent cross-contamination and applying pest control measures.

He pointed out that the Municipality checks all food establishments in the emirate according to their various activities, such as restaurants, cafeterias, cafés that offer food, grocery stores, supermarkets, and bakeries, as well as inspects and monitors delivery vehicles to ensure that they are sterilised, maintain food safety measures after each order, and delivery workers change masks and gloves after each order.