A day in the life of a restaurant inspector in Abu Dhabi

Join Food Control Authority official Mohamed Al Naqbi as he probes kitchens and issues warnings
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Meet Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) inspector Mohamed Yousif Al Naqbi
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Al Naqbi, from Sharjah, has been a restaurant inspector for two and a half years having studied a diploma in food safety at Sharjah University and later completed a food-control course at the Higher University of Technology
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Al Naqbi hits the road at 8:30am each morning. Al Naqbi rings the owner of Chowking Cantonese restaurant on Hamdan Street to tell him he's en route to inspect the premises
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A tower of dirty plates. Al Naqbi gives the restaurant manager some washing-up tips, telling him to separate the sink areas for washing vegetables and plates
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And finally the restaurant manager arrives. Now the real inspection can begin, Al Naqbi nods a quick greeting then heads straight for the kitchen. Things don't get off to a great start when the inspector spots an issue with the hand-wash system. He explains carefully to the restaurant owner that the tap should be operated either automatically via a sensor or by a foot pump to help prevent germs spreading
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On Nov 24, Al Naqbi's colleague left the owner a report detailing several improvements. Since then, the restaurant - without a valid commercial license - has been closed
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Moving swiftly on, Al Naqbi uncovers a few more problem areas, this time surrounding the fish-wash, where there is a carelessly-placed fly zapper above the sink and a leak underneath it
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A barrier of pots and pans is blocking the stairway to the AC unit. It earns Chowking another black mark and some stern remedial advice from Al Naqbi
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Once we've fought our way up the stairs, it transpires the AC unit has been fixed after all
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Al Naqbi notices that the ice freezer is overflowing and the thermometer on the oven next door is not working. He tells the Chowking owner these two items will also need fixing before the license can be renewed
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9:30am and the practical part of the inspection is over and Al Naqbi embarks on an equally crucial step - the debriefing and paperwork
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He finds certificates for employees who have completed Essential Food Safety Training as well as attendance certificates for those who failed it
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Al Naqbi checks that the Chowking owner has understood all of the remedial advice given and what needs to be improved in order for him to be given his commercial license renewal
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Once these changes have been made, the restaurateur will go into the licensing agency to notify them, and another inspection will be carried out. Next, a surprise visit to a Pakistani outlet called New Nemat Kadah Restaurant
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ADFCA has introduced procedures to keep its records online, such as the use of PDAs. Al Naqbi updates the records and leaves a few notes in his personal diary before making his exit.
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This restaurant already has its commercial license and Food Control Certificate valid until mid-April, 2012, but the outlet manager has had some issues with food safety
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Now to the fridge, where Al Naqbi checks all food products are covered and have the date they were produced and the date they expire clearly displayed. The restaurant has this sorted
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But what's this coming out of the freezer, is it a monster? No, it's just a bag of shellfish
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Al Naqbi smells something fishy in here... some frozen prawns.
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Time to leave the kitchen, but why are these lettuces blocking the path? The restaurant manager assures us they've only just been delivered and will soon be safely tucked away ready for their salad debut
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And now for the debriefing... remedial advice for the owner includes covering the drainage hole to prevent cockroaches finding their way into the kitchen, getting a new thermometer for the chiller, removing clutter and increasing storage space
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If the kitchen is not brought up to standard by ADFCA's next visit, the restaurant will receive a violation, and the courts will be left to decide the penalty.
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And here we leave Al Naqbi to continue on his rounds, which usually comprise at least another three inspections before he heads back to the office to finish his reports and log any violations
Thu 05 Jan 2012 12:45 PM GST
Last Updated: Mon 23 Jan 2017 04:38 PM GST