Dubai Municipality launched the sponsored Ramadan Fridge programme under the UAE Food Bank initiative last week, at the beginning of the fasting month. Each mosque will employ up to two trained volunteers or locally based food safety inspectors to operate the fridges.
“It is the responsibility of the volunteers and inspectors to make sure the food is fit for consumption. However, donors should also ensure the safety of the food they are donating,” said Khalid Mohammad Sharif Al Awadhi, assistant director general for health, safety and environment control.
“They should not donate raw food except fruits and vegetables and should not keep cooked food open for long time.”
Al Awadhi urged donors to stick to specific boxes that have been designated for the fridges. For the first time, they will accept home cooked food.
“There should not be any time and temperature abuse. Food should be kept in safe temperatures before donation. Donors need to follow instructions regarding time difference between preparation and donation of food.”
Meanwhile, the UAE government has been calling for a reduction in the amount of food used for Ramadan feasts after sunset.
Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, urged residents, restaurants and hotels to limit the food served at iftars and suhours in the country ahead of an anticipated doubling of food waste during the course of the month.
Significantly higher Ramadan waste contributes a sizeable chunk of the estimated US$4bn of food wasted annually in the UAE.
“Overspending during Ramadan is bad behaviour. We want to ensure people don’t waste food,” Al Zeyoudi said.
“It’s important, vital, for us, for our children and our future generations. We would like to ensure this life will continue and be ensured for future generations.”