For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News archives

Dubai: Cafeterias and food outlets have come under scrutiny in Sharjah after authorities found more than 300 establishments failed to comply with hygiene standards.

During the last eight months, Sharjah Municipality carried out 26,465 inspections in various food outlets across the city and discovered that a number of shops did not adhere to the emirate’s rules of hygiene and safety.

“The most common violation carried out in food outlets was the lack of commitment to wear hairnets and gloves when handling food,” said Omar Al Muhairi, head of food control department at Sharjah Municipality, who was quoted in Arabic media reports.

The inspection campaign led to the temporary closure of 34 food outlets and 3,345 fines imposed across a number of establishments.

He stressed that the food outlets will remain closed until all violations are amended, and will be allowed to reopen once it meets the authority’s health and safety standards.

Earlier this year, the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) announced a mechanism to standardize shawarma shops across the UAE.

According to the new regulations, the new requirements prohibits the roasting and selling of shawarmas outside the shops in order to protect the food from pollution and dust.

“The cooks should also adhere to the rules of hygiene during working hours such as washing hands with soap and water, and avoid behaviours that may lead to the pollution of shawarma, such as smoking,” said Khalaf Khalaf, director of the Standards Department of Esma.

The specifications also ensure the cook preparing the shawarma must have a valid health certificate issued by the official authorities, and he should be free from infectious diseases, respiratory diseases, wounds and ulcers.

Toll-free number

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Residents in Sharjah can call the municipality on the hotline number 993 to file complaints regarding food violations.

In Dubai, residents can contact the municipality to report any violations by using the toll-free number 800 900, which is open 24 hours a day.