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Sat 7 Feb 2009 08:52 AM

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Dozens of food shops shut after safety concerns

Last year 75 shops closed and 572 warnings issued in Abu Dhabi over food safety. 

Food safety inspectors in Abu Dhabi shut down 75 shops and issued hundreds of warnings over poor quality food last year, it was reported on Saturday.

A total of 572 warnings were issued by the Abu Dhabi Municipality to food stores about substandard products – the worst of which were closed down - following a total of 27,000 premises inspections.

Furthermore, 500 tonnes of food, which was out of date or rotten, was stopped from entering the emirate as a result of stricter checks at ports and land borders, according to UAE daily The National.

A similar approach in Dubai saw six percent of total shipments of food refused entry into the emirate last year after laboratory tests showed health and safety concerns.

“Before we allow products into the country we ask suppliers to provide us with samples,” said Mohammed Al Reyaysa, the director of public relations and communications at Abu Dhabi Municipality.

“These are sent to our laboratories for testing to ensure they are of suitable quality. As long as they pass the tests, they are approved and may be imported.”Random checks were also in place – food that was deemed unsuitable was either sent back to the country of origin or incinerated, he added.

Iman Bastaki, acting director of Dubai Municipality’s food control department, added that other common reasons for rejection included missing documents, such as halal certificates, or regulation import papers, and insufficient labeling.

“The municipality plays a vital role in following up the foodstuff beginning from its arrival at the port to its storage and circulation.”

Checks are also conducted on Dubai’s supermarkets and stores.

All food products must adhere to new specifications regarding food labels and quality, as well as the new GCC expiration period in line with international food control bodies.

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