ADFCA closes down Al Jaber Group's catering unit that caused food poisoning to workers
The culprits will not go unpunished, ADFCA
Abu Dhabi, March 28, 2011: Following a major incident of food poisoning at Al Jaber Group's labor camp in the Western Region, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) closed down an unlicensed catering unit at the camp which was functioning in squalid conditions.
The Authority also charged the unit for food safety violations, besides destroying 675 kg of cooked rice kept in unsafe conditions for more than 4 hours. ADFCA inspectors also took samples of all the cooked food items found in the facility.
The inspection report mentioned that the catering unit in question was supplying food to about 2200 workers without ADFCA's license and certificate. Food was not being supplied only to the company's workers, but also to workers from other companies that had contract with Al Jaber Group.
ADFCA inspectors who conducted a thorough probe at Al Jaber Camp for Catering Services in Madinat Zayed, which had supplied food to the workers, found that the unit was functioning in utterly squalid conditions, violating all norms of hygiene and disregarding the health consequences for the laborers. The inspectors found conditions that can cause cross contamination such as mixing of meat, poultry, cooked and raw vegetables in freezers. Several food items kept in the freezers did not have the dates of manufacturing or preparation in spite of the fact that they were susceptible to rotting if kept for long periods. Storing cooked vegetables in colored plastic containers inside freezers was another major violation.
ADFCA spokesperson called upon all sections of the community to bring to the Authority's notice the existence of any unlicensed catering units anywhere in the emirate. "We want to assure the public that the people behind this disaster will not go unpunished. The utter disregard for the law of the land evident in running an unlicensed catering unit in violation of all the rules and regulations is shocking," he pointed out; adding that the test results of the food samples taken from the site is still awaited.
To the shock of the inspectors who visited the site on hearing about the incident, they found cockroaches inside the drinking water dispensers, food materials in unacceptable temperature conditions and mixing of raw meat, fish and vegetables, besides a cooking range with traces of meat inside. Cooked food was being kept in conditions conducive to quick rotting in close proximity to unwashed utensils and open dustbins. The design of the cooking area also violated the standards and specifications prevalent in the Abu Dhabi.
The spokesperson said the Authority would never condone callous approaches to public health and safety. "Nobody is allowed to cater food without specific licenses and permission for the purpose. Adherence to the food safety rules and regulations in force in the emirate is a must for all. We are more than happy to offer advices and guidance on how to run food establishments in a way that guarantees the safety and health of the consumers," he added.