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  • ‘Al-Halabi Working Hand-in-Hand with Dubai Municipality’

    Catering businesses have strict rules surrounding the standard of hygiene that is required in order to reduce the risk of contamination, and if you operate a commercial kitchen in Dubai it will be inspected by enforcement officers from Dubai Municipality Food Safety Department, who will ensure that you are following the relevant food laws.

    This is not a faceless bureaucratic organisation though; indeed, it goes out of its way to work with and help cafes, restaurants, fast-food outlets and hotels throughout Dubai, most recently by attending a two-day training event with the MENA’s region’s leading designer, manufacturer, supplier and installer of commercial kitchen equipment, Al Halabi.

    “We are collaborating with Dubai Municipality to promote good practice and improve food safety performance,” explains Business Development Manager Bilal Al Halabi. “We aim to show that there is more to designing a commercial kitchen that meets the eye, allowing both caterers and enforcement officers to understand how hygienic systems can be created to meet individual needs, ensuring a safe working environment while meeting legislative requirements.”

    A number of mistakes are regularly made when new catering outlets open, not least the habit of getting the kitchen layout approved by Dubai Municipality ... and then altering it to obtain more space for additional equipment! The reasons for doing this are in many cases understandable, but in the long-run expensive and non-productive, especially if new equipment is added at the expense of preparation areas. This is an extremely important aspect for inspectors, who insist that all main preparation areas are kept separate; fish and vegetables for example, the latter requiring two dedicated sinks.

    Bilal points out, though, that creating ‘smart preparation areas’, such as having a sink and preparation table in one unit, with a hole built-in for rubbish disposal, is now the way forwards. “There are also a number of pieces of equipment to aid with preparation,” says Bilal,” such as machines that slice and dice vegetables, so there is no need for a preparation table as the fresh produce goes directly into a container.”

    Al Halabi’s time with Dubai Municipality Food Safety Department has given enforcement officers additional and highly valuable information, so that when an inspector calls and sees violations he can immediately give recommendations.

    “We understand the industry and will continue to work with the Municipality to help deliver peace of mind to our customers. Apart from assisting with legal requirements, a clean working environment will lead to a more motivated workforce and, ultimately, an increase in sales turnover,” concludes Bilal.

    By Al Halabi Ref. & Kitchen Equipment www.al-halabi.com