Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority said residents have a tendency to stock a large amount of food at home ahead of Ramadan as they want to focus on prayers when the holy month begins. Authority advised consumers to stock perishable foods for limited days only. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Residents should not stock too many food items during Ramadan as it can lead to health hazards, experts warned.

“Their good intention can cause health risks because food stocks often go beyond the capacity of the refrigerator at home and end up being kept at room temperature. Many foods have to be kept in a refrigerator, or they can be subject to spoilage or contamination,” a senior food safety official warned residents.

Ramadan being at the peak of summer warrants extra care on the part of consumers to keep food safety risks at bay, Mohammad Jalal Al Raisi, Director of Communication and Community Service at Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News last week.

It is good that residents want to focus on their religious responsibilities during Ramadan but it should not be at the cost of health, he said.

He advised consumers to stock perishable foods for a limited number of days only.

Another problem with stocking huge quantities of foods is possible inattention to their expiry dates. “When you buy too many foods, you will not have time to check the expiry dates of each and every product. Some of them may be expiring within a few days, and you may not notice it.” The official said it is very important to check the food label of each and every food product before consuming it. “Don’t depend on your memory only. You must have checked it while shopping but do it again before consuming. Otherwise you may eat expired food, putting your health at risk.”

With an urge to stock enough food for a maximum number of days during the holy month, many consumers are tempted by offers at supermarkets and hypermarkets and buy food products in bulk. “Most of the people may not use all those products at all. But offers tempt them into impulsive purchases. Don’t be carried away by discounts. You may pay a heavy price if you are careless!”

The old shopping rule of preparing a list and sticking to it while shopping is the solution to this problem. “Otherwise you waste your money, space at home, and discard spoilt food later. You may even end up carelessly eating expired food,”

All these reasons show that food shopping must be a carefully planned activity and everyone must avoid unnecessary bulk purchases during Ramadan.

“If you plan your time wisely, you can find enough time to buy foods during Raman without affecting your religious life,” Al Raisi said.

Moreover, once you purchase too many perishable foods, you may cook more of them to avoid spoilage. If you cook more food, your family can’t eat them all and they end up in waste bins.”

The amount of food wasted during Ramadan is generally high, which contradicts the teachings of Islam, Al Raisi said.

“On one side you spend a lot of time on worshipping and prayers during Ramadan and on the other you waste a lot of food. We have to be careful about such practices,” he said.