Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has said that the groceries that have closed down their shutters on the eve of the new year did so on their own, as it was very much possible for them to implement the new regulations and continue functioning.
"Some of them functioned as usual until the last day of the year-long period for change and closed down on the last day to begin the implementation of the regulations. Some others closed down for good because they did not comply with the new regulations and waited futilely till the last day, hoping the time will be extended," ADFCA statement pointed out.
However, Ahmed Abdul Karim Al Sharaf, Acting Director of Communication and Community Service at ADFCA, said that the coming days would see the opening of a wide network of retail shops run by companies such as Spinneys, Snacks, Adnoc Oasis, Select Express, White Rose, Spar and others. "These new outlets will make up for the ones that are now closed. However, the closure of groceries that are non-compliant will happen in a gradual manner and as per a plan put in place by the governmental committee overseeing the project. We do not want any inconvenience to the consumers. We will try our best to make sure that the consumers will not find themselves all of a sudden without the services they are used to," he explained.
Al Sharaf stressed that the retail shops in the city were given sufficient time to apply the new changes. It is only because of their reluctance to take advantage of the year-long period that new players have now come forward to take their place. Our objective is to make sure the consumers get the best services. We aim to make sure the retail sector is taken to a new level of excellence," he added.
Al Sharaf also pointed out that all that was possible was done to help the shop owners to move on to the new phase without difficulty. "During the year-long period, we increased the number of approved contractors to more than 80 in order to ensure the shopkeepers have enough to choose from. Contrary to speculations, ADFCA had not fixed the price for renovations at AED 200000. This is totally left to the choices the shop owners make while applying the changes," he clarified.
Al Sharaf said the new regulations governing retail stores were framed with a view to guarantee food safety inside them, in addition to other considerations of space, wide gaps in quality between various retail stores and other factors. No new license will be issued except as per the new regulations," he concluded.