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Tue 19 Jul 2011 10:45 AM

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Overflowing sewage, insects spur restaurant closures

Abu Dhabi food authority says 24 outlets shut in capital since start of 2010

Overflowing sewage, insects spur restaurant closures
A spate of food poisoning outbreaks across the UAE has pushed the issue of restaurant hygiene to the fore

Insect infestations,
overflowing sewage pipes and unlicensed operations are among the top reasons
for restaurant closures in Abu Dhabi, the capital’s food control authority has
said.

The ADFCA said Monday
it has closed 24 restaurants in the emirate since the start of 2010 in a
clampdown on “third class” eateries flouting basic hygiene rules.

“We treat all the reasons very seriously as they could cause
many health hazards for consumers,” Mohamed Abdulla Al Fardan, deputy director of
communication, told Arabian Business. 

“We will not be lenient with regard to any negligence or
violation [of the law], regardless of the size, reputation or popularity of the
food outlet.”

A spate of food
poisoning outbreaks across the UAE has pushed the issue of restaurant hygiene
to the fore. Earlier this year, two popular eateries were closed within a month
in Abu Dhabi for what ADFCA described as shocking breaches of food safety,
while a further 63 outlets received warnings.

The Al Ibrahimi Restaurant in Madinat Zayed was closed on
the spot by health inspectors after displaying “utterly deplorable hygienic
conditions”, including rat and cockroach infestations and piles of rotting
food.

A branch of popular US restaurant chain Chilis was also shut
down after inspectors found overflowing sewage pipes in cooking areas.

In a nationwide effort to improve food safety, the UAE’s
Ministry of Environment and Water this month announced plans to introduce a
federal food safety law.

The law will lay out tougher guidelines for food imports,
tighten public health measures and introduce a new warning system for outbreaks
and emergencies, such as last month’s e-coli outbreak that killed more than 50
people in Europe and the US.

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