Adhere to safety norms: food outlets, slaughterhouses told

Muscat: Slaughterhouses and food outlets have been urged to ensure safety measures for their customers and own staff during Eid ul Fitr, which is expected to be early next week.

Speaking to the Observer, a top official at the Food Safety and Quality Center (FSQC) at the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRMWR) said, “In order to take precautions to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus while preparing for the Eid al Fitr, Ministry has plans to conduct inspections and random checks across the food establishments and slaughterhouses which have been asked to use clean materials, among other precautions.”

“Eating joints, slaughterhouses and other commercial establishments are urged to use clean tools and provide sterilisers at the entrance and the main facility area. The companies renting slaughterhouses should adhere to the precautionary measures in organising and sterilising the slaughterhouses and make sure they are free from any ticks or other issues that help breed the virus,” a spokesperson of the FSQC told the Observer.

Officials from the FSQC have met with the main companies renting the slaughterhouse premises to chalk out strict guidelines and handle each customer who wants to get animal slaughtered, and delivered.

“The MRMWR has elaborate preparations in place to ensure safety of people from Covid-19 during Eid al Fitr, taking various precautionary measures to prevent the virus spread,” he said.

The ministry officials would inspect and monitor the slaughterhouses in all wilayats and check their preparedness to receive meat and ensure they are free from any disease.

“Sterlisation of the premises, equipments and people dealing with customers is of paramount importance. Joint teams from Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and MRMWR will inspect livestock shops and impose fine on unlicensed butchers and unhygienic premises.”

The MRMWR runs nearly 50 slaughterhouses across the country except the capital region which has two slaughterhouses run by the Muscat Municipality. Some are open 24 hours. Different timings are allotted for individuals and companies.

“Individuals are allowed to come in morning till noon while butchers and companies are given evening slots.”

Social distancing, personal hygiene, face mask, sanitiser are must for every customer to enter the premises. Each customer will be given a token number after receiving their animal and they wouldn’t be allowed to wait inside the premises. “Instead, they will be asked to sit in their vehicles and wait for their turn.”

Illegal slaughterers warned:

The MRMWR has sounded warning to all those who are engaged in illegal sale of animals and slaughtering without the Ministry’s permission.

“Illegal butchers and slaughterhouses, slaughterers are strictly warned not to engage in such businesses. They will be violating the safety set by the ministry and risking the public health especially during this pandemic period. They don’t use the services of any vet and chances of disease transmission are high”, said an official adding that such people will be dealt with accordingly.