Dubai: Schools across the emirate will have trained supervisors in canteens to ensure that the food is prepared properly and hygienically.
Around 200 such supervisors are participating in a training being conducted by the Dubai Municipality, along with the Ministry of Education.
The civic body has already issued guidelines on health and nutritional practices in school canteens which lay down general requirements for canteens that sell and prepare food as well as on nutrition. Every school canteen is required to have at least one person trained and certified as a PIC (Person In Charge).
Khalid Sherif, Director of the Food Control Department, said this training will help generate awareness about malpractices in the preparation of food.
The guidelines issued by the municipality require school canteens to get the layouts of kitchen and dining areas approved by the Food Control Department and follow specifications including those on proper drainage, work space for food preparation, dispensing of food, and storage.
The canteens are also required to identify in advance people who will follow up cases of food-related illnesses and develop written procedures to help detect any cases of food poisoning.
Food items like soft drinks, energy drinks, milk and yogurt with synthetic flavours, chewing gum, candies and sweets with excessive sugar cannot be sold in school canteens.
In its efforts to encourage children to eat nutritious meals, the civic body has also come out with recommendations for school lunches prepared in collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority.
The school lunch kit recommended by the municipality encourages students to have fruits, vegetables, milk, proteins and grains.
It advises that the food given to children be low in fat, breads be made of wholegrain and that green vegetables and fruits are included.
The school canteens have also been given a list of items that should ideally be made available, for example, fruits and salads, which should be kept refrigerated.
Pupils should also be provided with ample water to drink, particularly in summer, said the municipality.