Dubai’s drive to help cooks breathe easy

Municipality campaign tackles poor ventilation in 643 eateries

Staff Report
13:31 October 10, 2017

Dubai: Cooks and other kitchen staff in 643 Dubai eateries with poor ventilation facilities can now breathe easy, thanks to a Dubai Municipality campaign.

The inspection team in the Food Safety Department carried out the campaign to improve the ventilation in 643 out of 17,000 food outlets in the emirate during July and August, the civic body said in a press release on Tuesday.

Sultan Ali Al Tahir, head of the Food Inspection Section in the Food Safety Department of the municipality, said the campaign aimed to ensure the safety of workers and provide a safe and healthy working environment, which helps maintain food safety.

He explained that the inspections, conducted at the beginning of the campaign, were to see whether these establishments were committed to the food safety requirements, and whether the temperature of the kitchen or workplace was between 25 and 26 degree Celsius.

“While visiting some outlets, we found that the workers were exhausted by the intensity of the heat, and the inspectors issued fines to the owners, who had repeated violations. We have decided to implement the campaign to alleviate the suffering of workers, and to provide the conditions to ensure the preparation of food in an appropriate environment.”

Before starting the campaign during the summer, he said 141 outlets had already improved the ventilation and carried out maintenance of their facilities, especially as the cooking areas require high-temperature ovens that affect the ventilation quality if not in a good condition.

Al Tahir said 345 establishments improved their performance during the campaign period, and carried out necessary maintenance of the air-conditioning and ventilation units.

The municipality gave a grace period to the remaining 157 outlets until September 1 to improve ventilation and to carry out necessary maintenance.

Al Tahir added that these initiatives are primarily aimed at ensuring the improvement of the performance of workers in food establishments and that the working conditions are humane.