Monday, November 29, 2010


If all the reports emanating from the United Arab Emirates ( UAE) are to be believed, consumers in the Dubai emirate should be the safest ones on earth. Probably the chances that the system of surveillance put in place there can be one of the best are very high considering the enormous resources they have at their command. But all rich countries need not be paragons of virtue when it comes to food safety as evident from food poisoning episodes one hears about around the world. One of the most satisfying aspects of the safety monitoring regime in UAE is the mandatory placement of qualified food inspectors in every licensed eatery vested with the responsibility of overseeing the day to day operations from hygiene and sanitation angles. Strict monitoring of the market for presence of spurious food materials helps the catering industry to obtain good quality raw materials for making preparations that comply with the standards laid down.

"The one aspect of living in the UAE that calls for praise is the ongoing attempt to ensure the highest standards of hygiene in the manufacture, retail and sales of food through public outlets. The latest initiatives issued by the Dubai Municipality to place food inspectors or what are known as food safety managers in every eatery is a major step in taking the controls to 
another level. We actually have to concede that perhaps with such steps being taken on a regular basis and the penalties indicating that there is also zero tolerance for those whose sanitary environment is below par the chances of upsetting the digestive system or swallowing harmful bacteria is drastically reduced. Couple this surveillance with the inspections of markets for any shoddy or dated goods and the odds are lowered even further. In a world where contaminated food or poor drinking water is the cause of infection in millions of people the non-exposure in our lifestyles thanks to such vigilance is a matter of extreme social importance especially in the case of young children".

Policing the food industry is a difficult job and with constraints on resources many countries do not deploy adequate personnel for regular inspection and rectification of inadequacies encountered. On top of it the enforcement personnel in many cases are known to ignore violations for pecuniary considerations. Probably the situation in countries like Dubai, Saudi Arabia etc does not encourage violation of laws of the land under a strict deterrent environment. The relatively low population and the small size of the area to be administered make the task comparatively easier but credit cannot be taken away from the rulers for their determination and commitment to the welfare of their consumers through their zero tolerance policy as far as food safety is concerned.


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