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DM approval must for transporting foodstuff

By Joy Sengupta / 1 May 2007

DUBAI All vehicles carrying food items in Dubai will now require a mandatory approval from the Dubai Municipality's Food Control Section prior to being licensed by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Food traders and suppliers have been given a six-month grace period to change their existing fleet in line with a new set of technical specifications pertaining to vehicles transporting various food items.

Khalid Mohammed Sharif, Assistant Director of Public Health Department and Head of Food Control Section at Dubai Municipality, said the civic body has prepared a Code of Practice for vehicles carrying foodstuff. 

He urged food traders and suppliers in the emirate to adhere to the Code of Practice which lists hygiene and safety guidelines concerning transportation of food items. The municipality will take appropriate action against violators and the penalties may include fines and non-renewal of vehicle licences.

Sharif said, "Safe transportation of food items is the key to ensuring a hygienic supply of materials to consumers.  Any negligence in this regard can be harmful to consumers." 

Explaining the procedures for certifying food transportation vehicles, Sharif said all food establishments in Dubai must first submit applications to the Food Control Section, along with copies of the Trade Licence, contact details (address, telephone numbers, email, contact person, etc) and specifications of the vehicle (vehicle no, capacity, temperature control specifications), health certificates for staff including drivers, helpers, sales executives and assistants with at least three months validity, employee training records and specifying type of food items that will be carried in the vehicle (meat, chicken, fish, dairy products, vegetables or fruits).

Licence

If the vehicles are licensed in other emirates, then it must belong to a food supplier approved by Dubai Municipality, he added.

The Municipality, in cooperation with the RTA will inspect such vehicles at a specified location in Warsan and verify the documents to ensure their compliance with the requirements before issuing the final approval on the type of food that can be transported. The validity for such an approval, which will cost Dh100, will be for one year following which the same procedures will be repeated.

Stickers in different colours depending on the type of food carried by each vehicle (green for vegetables, red for meat, etc) will be pasted on a visible place of the vehicle showing the validity of its licence. The Food Control Section will cancel the approval if a food establishment does not meet the health and hygiene requirements.

"Our objective behind introducing this code is to put an end to the practice of using just any vehicle to carry food items. Several traders say they use pick-up vans, for instance, to carry food for one or two hours. But, given the extreme weather conditions in summer, this is enough time to get the food contaminated," he said. 

"We have discussed the mechanism to implement this code with officials of the Licensing Department at the RTA. Meetings were also held with representatives of food transportation companies and food suppliers in December last year to know their viewpoints on the new procedures," added Sharif.

 
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