Middle East states step up food inspections in warehouses, supermarkets and restaurants this Ramadan

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Authorities in Middle East have beefed up inspections to prevent and detect food spoilage during Ramadan. ©Getty Images
Authorities in Middle East have beefed up inspections to prevent and detect food spoilage during Ramadan. ©Getty Images
Authorities in several parts of the Middle East, including Qatar and the UAE, have increased the number of food inspections this Ramadan to ensure proper food preparation, storage and transportation.

Some items on the checklist include food storage at the right temperature and sending food samples for lab examination.

In Dubai, warehouses storing rice, flour and juices are the main inspection targets. Bakeries, confectioneries and factories of dairy products are also being inspected.

80 food establishments have been inspected as of last Wednesday.

Increased checks were intended to ensure health and safety of the consumers during the festive season, said Sultan Al Tahir, Head of the Food Inspection Section in the Food Safety Department in the Dubai Municipality.

As for Qatar, both Al Khor and Al Dhakhira municipalities have inspectors conducting checks for the entire food supply chain, beginning from food production to food display.

For instance, there are veterinary doctors who would conduct checks at butcheries, inspectors who visit markets to ensure presence of storage facilities to keep meat refrigerated at -18 degrees Celsius, and that stallholders use rustproof metals to cut meat.

On the other hand, in Ajman Municipality situated within the UAE, inspectors will take food samples from restaurants and cafes for lab examination.

“We will take food samples to the laboratory for examination, ensuring their suitability for consumption. Inspectors will ensure the safety food at coffee shops and restaurants, and ensure that they are abiding by safety and health rules,” ​Abdulrahman Mohammed Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Ajman Municipality told local media Gulf Today​.

Due to increased demand for food and higher temperatures during the Ramadan period, the authorities in the Middle East have beefed up inspections to prevent and detect food spoilage as in the previous years.

For example, the authorities from Abu Dhabi had doubled inspections​ on supermarkets during Ramadan last year.

Display of food outdoor

In Dubai municipality, food establishments such as eateries, bakeries and sweet shops would also need to obtain permission from the Food Safety Department, before they could display products outside of their shops.

Food establishments would need to take note of the hot and cold food preservation processes, protection of food from external pollutants, and the need to ensure that they meet the requirements for the transfer, storage, preparation and display of food products.

The temperature level should be more than 65 degrees Celsius for hot storage and less than 5 degrees Celsius for cold storage. Storing food between 5 degrees Celsius and 65 degrees Celsius would lead to food decay, and even food poisoning.

The authorities said that they do not allow food to be displayed throughout the day during Ramadan but they have set the time from two hours before Iftar and during that period. Inspectors would visit food establishments to ensure that the hygiene requirements are followed.

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