Dubai: Over 2,600 hotels and large restaurants received A+ rating in food inspections during the first half of 2018, Dubai Municipality announced on Thursday.

While 2,656 high-risk food establishments, amounting to 21 per cent of the total in the emirate, surpassed expectations in the inspections conducted by the Food Inspection Section of the Food Safety Department, 72 food outlets were temporarily closed down due to high-risk violations.

There has also been a significant increase in the number of applications for opening new food establishments in Dubai during the same period as the municipality received 473 applications, which mean, two to three food outlets, on an average, get opened in the city every day.

Sultan Ali Al Tahir, head of the Food Inspection Section, explained that the high-risk establishments represented hotels and big restaurants with large quantities of food preparation.

“The increased number of excellent rating was the result of the implementation of strategic food safety programmes for the food establishments in the emirate and their adherence to our procedures to raise the hygiene and technical standards to reach this advanced level, most notably the application of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) risk analysis system in all hotels, catering companies, and increasing their effectiveness,” he said.

“This system targets the risks related to the food chain — from raw materials to the consumer table,” said Al Tahir. “As for the low-level establishments, we applied the Smart Inspection Programme, which was designed to identify, figure out and analyse the technical and hygiene risks, as well as to process them by developing radical solutions, in addition to applying the best practices in food safety. This has contributed significantly in raising the level of evaluation of the food establishments,” he said.

High-risk violations

“During the first half of 2018, the municipality closed down 72 food outlets temporarily due to their high-risk violations. The municipality allowed a large number of them to reopen after meeting the technical specifications and hygiene requirements and fully complying with the food safety rules and regulations of the municipality,” Al Tahir.

He added that the Person-In-Charge (Hygiene Supervisor) Programme contributed greatly to the high hygiene condition in the various food establishments.

Al Tahir said that in the six months of this year, the inspection teams conducted 20,375 visits to ensure that the food outlets comply with the food safety rules and regulations.

These included 13,287 routine visits, 1,379 follow-up visits, 928 random visits, and 1,726 administrative order visits.

Employees in the section also responded to 2,117 public reports received through the municipality’s call centre toll-free number, 800900, which is open 24 hours a day, to receive complaints and suggestions.