Checks on food outlets intensified

MUSCAT, MAY 21 – As part of ensuring food safety, the Muscat Municipality has intensified inspections in all food outlets and slaughterhouses.
“From the very outset of the holy month of Ramadhan, the inspectors are keeping a close watch on the quality of food and to make sure that consumers are getting the best,” said an official at the municipality.
He said that teams of inspectors from the Directorate-General of Health Affairs will conduct three visits, including surprise checks during day and night, at all the food joints and slaughterhouses.
“The inspectors will check ready meals sold in the malls and other outlets. Also the kitchen and catering staff will be examined for hygiene,” he said.
Meanwhile, the municipality in a statement said that the Directorate-General of Health Affairs has initiated steps to keep livestock free from diseases.
“Livestock are examined by the veterinarians after their arrival and even before being slaughtered,” the statement said.
In order to regulate the process of slaughtering, the municipality has rescheduled the working hours during the holy month.
Now they will be opened from 9 am to 4 pm from Saturday until Thursday, while work continues on Fridays for two hours from 9 to 11 am. In the afternoon, they will be open from 2 to 4 pm.
The official said that the municipality’s Directorate of Health monitors food processing at restaurants, coffee shops and commercial stores to ensure they observe the health terms and conditions for food processing along with the means of transport of food items, ways of food preservation and personal hygiene.
The directorate has a food inspection and monitoring department comprising several teams that conduct food quality checks in different areas.
Each team has two to three experts who carry out inspections on a daily basis. Inspections are also conducted on the basis of special complaints or for research purposes.
Also, the municipality has a laboratory as the frontline defence for health and food safety in the capital city.
“It enables Muscat Municipality to monitor the food samples and maintain the safety of the consumer, and therefore the health of the community,” the statement said.
At the same time, the municipality has asked citizens and residents to send their queries, observations or complaints to the toll free number 1111 or via its accounts in social networking sites.
Municipal authorities in Oman destroyed 20 kilogrammes of spoiled foodstuff and shut down six shops during inspection campaign, it was announced on Sunday.

SAMUEL KUTTY