Tuesday, March 28, 2023 | Ramadan 5, 1444 H
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Tough on food safety violations

Outlets warned as inspections continue

Restaurants and food outlets which are caught violating the Sultanate of Oman's food safety laws could face legal action in addition to the closure, warns Muscat Municipality.

The warning followed detection of violations of parameters concerning food safety and hygiene in restaurants and cafes in Muttrah during inspections by food inspectors from the municipality.

Notices of violations were issued to 16 outlets. Two were closed, 92 kg of 'not fit for use food' were destroyed, and 104 equipment, including utensils not suitable for food preparation, were confiscated.

In a statement, the municipality said that the administrative closure will remain in effect until the violations are corrected.

The violations included poor storage of food, such as storing or displaying perishable food items at an inappropriate temperature, handling food in a manner that affects public safety and leaving food exposed during storage.

"The municipality will not allow any kind of non-compliance as far as food safety regulations are concerned," an official at the municipality told the Observer over the phone.

He said that civic officials are also cracking down on all food outlets to ensure that food is preserved under appropriate conditions, within the expiry date, and is fit for consumption.

"The municipality gives paramount importance to the health of the citizens and residents. There will not be any compromise on violations," he warned.

The inspection mechanisms and their replication are done according to a system of standards which ensure food safety with distinction and transparency.

The municipality also indicated it will intensify the follow-up to ensure compliance, adding that non-compliant food establishments will be fined. The main objective of the inspections is to ensure health and safety of the food that reaches the consumer.

According to amendments made in the Food Safety Law in 2019, penalties ranging from a fine of RO 100 to RO 5,000 can be imposed for manufacturing food items without obtaining a licence or dealing with counterfeit foodstuffs or harmful substances that are not suitable for human consumption.

Establishments covered under the law include restaurants and cafes, fast food restaurants, bakeries, public kitchens, food processing plants, mills, livestock slaughterhouses, shopping malls, as well as refrigerated, frozen, canned and dry food stores.

In the statement, the municipality urged citizens and residents "to report any violations at food outlets or when in doubt about the contents of food products to it on toll-free number 1111 for any observations or queries so that legal action can be taken".


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