During the first half of 2017, Dubai Municipality ordered the temporary closure of 94 food outlets due to hygiene violations.
"These food establishments were given a short period of time to modify their status and clear all the violations related to hygiene and unhealthy practices, expired foodstuffs, and the presence of spoiled foods," said Sultan Al Taher, Head of Food Inspection Section in the Food Safety Department at Dubai Municipality.
"At the same time, 1,409 food establishments in Dubai received Excellent and Gold rating during the first half of 2017," he said.
Al Tahir explained that during the period, inspectors carried out 15,681 inspection visits, including those to verify the 1,733 communications received by the Municipality Call Centre. "We receive several communications from consumers, but they must be confirmed before deciding whether or not to issue fines," he said.
"The visits showed that 954 communications, 55 percent of the total communications, were correct and they were dealt with immediately. Some food outlets took corrective measures before the inspector arrived to ascertain the facts about the complaint. Some customers had threatened them with complaints to the Municipality," Al Tahir added.
He reiterated that the Municipality follows up on reports and observations received from public through the call centre, and conducts checks on food establishments, including warehouses and restaurants, to take any necessary corrective measures as per the Local Order No. 11 of 2003.
Al Tahir said that the 94 food establishments were closed due to several violations, the most important of which were related to hygiene issues and the inspectors directed them to take immediate corrective action. The Municipality closed these establishments for up to three hours to modify their status and clean the premises before being given a proper evaluation.
Al Tahir added that inspectors noticed violations related to sanitation, requiring direct closure. "Some irregularities included non-compliance of the establishment with the commercial activity approved in the license," he said.
Al Tahir pointed out that all the closures carried out by the inspectors of the Food Safety Department during this period were of high risk establishments.
"We do not close less dangerous outlets because they do not commit many violations that directly affect consumers, but their violations are related to administration, which are required to be corrected during the time the inspector visits," he said.
Al Tahir said that violations in the summer increase because of high temperatures, as the heat directly affects the food and can damage it faster, while poor storage and ventilation can add to the problem.