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Press Dossier   News Category    Agriculture And Fisheries    Dubai issues food code

Khaleej Times, March 26, 2013

Dubai issues food code

Sajila Saseendran / 26 March 2013

Diners will soon see changes in the design of some of the eateries, colour of some food handlers’ uniforms and have more info about allergens on the menus, thanks to the introduction of the Dubai Food Code that is set to make sweeping changes to the safe food culture in the emirate. With the Dubai Municipality releasing the code on Monday, the food industry will now see new and uniform standards implemented in every bit of their operation — ranging from construction of eateries to personal hygiene and safe practices of food handlers and other procedures involved in ensuring food safety. As reported by Khaleej Times last month, all food outlets in Dubai will be required to follow the code based on which the inspection system will be revamped. Director of the Food Control Department Khalid Mohammed Sherif Al Awadhi said establishments will be receiving their grades (ranging from A to E) during food safety inspections depending on how good they are in following the mandatory requirements in the code. As per the code, which also provides the rationale behind each rule, food outlets will be required to have adequate operational space and proper design to ensure smooth and hygienic functioning of their premises. This should also tally with the number of items on the menu so that there is no overloading and no clogging of the space in delivering the items being prepared. Changes on the menu and labels of food items will be required since the code says that food establishments should declare the most common ingredients known to cause allergic reactions when they are present in the food that is prepared or sold. The code has enlisted a host of guidelines to ensure hygienic food handling. It says only clean and preferably light-coloured outer clothing or protective overalls should be worn by food handlers, indicating that food handlers using dark outfits may have to switch to light-coloured uniforms. “Now, we are concentrating on the introduction of the code. We will be conducting a series of workshops to help the industry implement it.  After that, we will measure the acceptance of and adherence to the code. In the next stage, we will start working on licensing based on the code and then we will use the appropriate provisions for decision making,” Asia Abdulwahab Alraeesi, who heads Food Studies and Planning at the Food Control Department, said at the launch of the code. “Different inspectors have different approaches to steps in food preparation like cooling, reheating and thawing. We have now harmonised the guidelines for all these in the code. This will add very good value to our efforts to provide very safe food to the consumers,” said the municipality’s food safety expert, Basher Hassan Yousif. He said the code is designed to assist the Persons In-Charge (PICs) at food establishments to understand their obligations and carry out operations as per the requirement. “A notable point regarding the code is that it not only talks about laws but explains how and why.” The code stipulates that the operator of a food premises shall ensure that food is stored, displayed, prepared and served in a manner that prevents the food from becoming contaminated.

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