Dubai: If there are no flies or pests in your kitchen, it doesn’t mean it is safe from contaminants and bacteria. Sometimes, the way you handle the raw or cooked food in your kitchen can make your family sick.
To increase residents’ awareness on proper food handling, Dubai Municipality unveiled a ‘model kitchen’ on Sunday as part of the GCC Food Safety Week being held from April 15 to 19.
The model kitchen has been designed to have space and kitchenware designated for different kinds of food — raw, cooked, fresh produce and hot and cold — to ensure proper food handling and avoid cross-contamination.
“We chose a model kitchen to drive home the message that it is important to avoid food contamination and food-borne diseases. This kitchen is hygienic and we want to make people understand the dangers of contamination,” Khalid Mohammad Sherif Al Awadhi, Assistant Director-General for Environment, Health and Safety Control Sector, said.
We chose a model kitchen to drive home the message that it is important to avoid food contamination and food-borne diseases. This kitchen is hygienic and we want to make people understand the dangers of contamination.”
- Khalid Mohammad Sherif Al Awadi | Assistant Director-General for Environment, Health and Safety Control Sector
“Food safety is not just the responsibility of regulatory authorities but of consumers also. We have launched this campaign to make people aware about handling the food from the market to their dining table.
Cross-contamination happens when foods with harmful bacteria come in contact with other foods, through cutting boards and utensils. This commonly happens with raw meat, poultry and seafood.
Iman Ali Al Bastaki, Director of Food Safety Department at Dubai Municipality, said since food safety is the primary concern of any society, the civic body is doing it best to engage all segments of the society through a wide array of events lined up for the GCC Food Safety Week.
To mark the Food Safety Week, officials visited the model kitchen set up by Ikea on the municipality premises where employees were given tips about food safety in the kitchens.
Jehaina Hassan Al Ali, head of Awareness and Applied Nutrition Unit in the Food Safety Department at Dubai Municipality, said many misconceptions abound on food handling. “Food contamination is something that can happen while handling food. It may not always cause food poisoning. But it’s one of the main reasons that might lead to food poisoning, especially in homes. At home if you prepare food, you need to know basic food safety handling,” Ali told Gulf News.
“For example, using the same knife for cutting raw food and bread would be risky. Many housewives cut the raw food like chicken or meat and use the same knife for cutting salad,” she said.
Dubai Municipality’s campaign partners are also spreading the food safety message through grocery stores and supermarkets. The civic body has also printed 6,000 stickers about safe delivery of food that will be distributed through Uber Eats.
Food safety experts will hold seminars on food safety on Wednesday at Dubai World Trade Centre.
The municipality will organise a food safety awareness workshop for restaurants on Thursday.
Your guide for safe handling of food
STORING IN THE FRIDGE
• Keep the temperature is between 0 and 5°C.
• When thawing frozen food raw meat, keep it in a container at the bottom of your fridge to prevent any liquid from dripping and contaminating other items in the fridge. Do not thaw raw meat room temperature.
• Chill leftovers and takeout food within two hours.
Keep frozen food below -18°C and chilled food in 0 to -5°C.
FOOD DELIVERY TIPS
• Ensure food you receive is still hot and hot foods are separated from cold foods.
• Put your food in the fridge if you’re not planning to eat it right away.
• Don’t leave your cooked or cold food outside the fridge for more than two hours after delivery.
• Don’t place your delivered food in the fridge for more than two days.
• Order food nearby so delivery time can be shorter to ensure that your food is still hot when delivered.
STORING DRY GOODS
• Ensure that you keep enough space between your dry foods to ensure ventilation and no pests would hide there.
WHEN EATING OUT
• Keep hot foods hot and cold things cold. Send back to the kitchen food that is not hot or cold as it should be.
• Make sure your food such as chicken and hamburgers are not served undercooked or raw.
• Pay attention to the buffet line. Take note of how the food is kept. Make sure food is kept on steam tables or above burners.
• Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
• Wash fresh produce like fruits and vegetables before storing them.
COOKING/HANDLING RAW MEAT
• Ensure you’re washing raw meat in a separate sink from the sink where you wash your fruits and vegetables to prevent cross contamination. If you only have one sink, wash the fresh fruits and vegetables first before handling raw products.
• Never use the same knife and chopping board for raw food or meats and read-to-eat food like bread. Wash both utensils first and your hands before handling other types of food.
Always check that your chicken and minced meat are fully cooked through before taking it out of the oven. If you have an oven thermometer, poultry and minced meat – should be cooked to a core temperature of at least 70°C for 2 minutes or equivalent. Whole fish may be cooked according to one’s preference but minced fish (e.g. fish cakes) must be cooked to a core temperature of at least 70°C for 2 minutes or equivalent (75°C instantaneously), according to UK-based safefood.eu.