Wednesday, 14 April 2021 10:34 GMT

Food transport vehicles under scanner in Dubai

(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Dubai Municipality has fined 365 vehicles used for delivering cooked food and transporting raw foodstuff in the first two days of a week-long campaign targeting the "illegal and unsafe" ways in which food is delivered.

The campaign was launched on Sunday at Al Aweer Fruits and Vegetables Market. The fined vehicle comprise 33 per cent of the 1,100 vehicles inspected by a special team of officials from the Food Control Department of the municipality in the joint drive with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and the Dubai Police.

"Majority of the vehicles are complying with our specifications for food transportation," Principal Food Studies and Surveys Officer Abdul Aziz Bashir Al Sheikh told Khaleej Times. "But we are not happy with just that. We want all of them to be safe for transporting food items since food safety is our priority."

Regulations include getting the vehicles with prescribed specifications passed from one of the five authorised vehicle testing centres, securing a permit from the municipality to transport food items as per the specifications and also displaying colour-coded stickers allotted for the type of food item being carried.

Vehicles carrying refrigerated food have a green sticker, red is for hot food, yellow for dry food items and orange for frozen food. "It doesn't matter whether the vehicles are from Dubai, other emirates or neighbouring countries. If they want to transport food through Dubai, they must follow these rules."

Carrying fruits, vegetables and other food items in unsafe ways was the major violation noted by the team led by Head of Food Inspection Section Sultan Ali Al Taher. "Some of them have implemented all specifications but have not taken the permit. That is a minor violation. We just ask them to get the permit. But others were major violations which attracted fines."

"If there is a history of violation against a vehicle that was already recorded during the inspection in the food establishment, the fine amount will be double," Al Sheikh said, without providing the details of fines slapped on them.

Some companies were fined for using open pickup vehicles and others for using vehicles without having chiller or freezer that are a must for carrying perishable items that have to be refrigerated.

A technical team from the RTA also inspected the general fitness of these vehicles, while the Dubai Police helped control the inspection procedures and traffic movement in and out of the busiest market in the emirate. The official said the inspection drive will be carried out in other markets and busy areas in Dubai later.

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