Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has called upon picnic goers and desert campers who take advantage of the good weather nowadays to adhere to food safety precautions during their trips.
The possibility of food-borne illnesses is very high during outdoor picnics if adequate precautions are not taken to ensure the food consumed is safe, the Authority stressed.
The Awareness Section of the Authority's Communication and Community Service division is currently running a massive campaign involving visits to places where picnic goers set up tents to educate them on the proper methods of carrying and storing food items and to distribute among the publications instructing how to deal with food during outdoor trips.
Mohamed Jalal Al Rayssi, Director of Communication and Community Service at ADFCA, said that camping trips often involved unhealthy food practices that lead to food-borne illnesses. "One of the most common undesirable practices is keeping raw meats, fruits and vegetables and other cooked foods together, without separating them into different containers or bags. Not keeping an ice box to store easily perishable foods like raw meat, poultry, fish and egg is another major cause for worry," he pointed out.
Al Rayssi added that using plastic bags meant for cold foods to store warm foods another avoidable practice. "Using paper napkins instead of clothe pieces and newspapers for cleaning the hands is very important. Taking precautions against fires and carbon monoxide inhalation is also very crucial to a safe picnic. People must avoid cooking inside the tents as it might cause fire or carbon monoxide inhalation and subsequent hazards," he pointed out.
Al Rayssi warned against abandoning the leftover food in the camping areas and asked picnickers to carry them in waste bags and properly dispose of it in dustbins. "We would also like to caution against consuming seasonal plants growing in the desert during spring or after rains without ascertaining whether they are fit for human consumption. Even after confirming their safety, they should be washed well and consumed in moderate quantities," he concluded.