Worms found in chocolate; inspections intensified Filed on May 27, 2011
Worms found in chocolate; inspections intensified

Tests on to find out source of contamination; inspectors also targeting small supermarkets that switch off power at night.

SHARJAH - The Sharjah Municipality intensified inspections in groceries, supermarkets and hypermarkets to ensure safety of all imported candies and chocolates available on the shelves to ensure safety of people.

The action follows a complaint by a consumer who found worms in a popular egg-shaped chocolate manufactured in a European country.

Speaking with Khaleej Times, Sultan Al Mulla, Director-General of the municipality, said, “As soon as the complainant brought the chocolate to the municipality, an inspector was sent to the particular grocery. On inspection, the sample of the chocolate was found filled with worms.”

Immediately, all pieces of the chocolate were removed from the shelves to protect children who might not realise the presence of worms inside.

The sample brought by the complainant was sent to the laboratory for tests to determine the cause of contamination — whether it is due to poor manufacturing or improper storage of the product by the grocery.

Inspections have been intensified in all supermarkets and groceries in Sharjah to check whether the product in other shops also has worms in it. “If we find out that the worms in the product was due to improper storage, action, including hefty fines, will be taken against the grocery. If it was due to manufacturing defect, a letter will be sent to the Ministry of Environment to send circulars to all municipalities in the country to withdraw the product form the local market,” Al Mulla said.

He also said inspections targeting retailers who turn off their refrigerators at night to save power are continuing to prevent food poisoning.

“Inspectors would first warn the violators and fine those who persist with flouting the safety rules. They could take the food items for testing in the food laboratory whenever necessary. The fines start from Dh1,000 and the penalty could extend up to the firm’s closure if it is found flouting the rules repeatedly.”

The municipality is inspecting supermarkets and groceries to check the validity of the canned and frozen foods on a regular basis. “The municipality gives importance to the supervision of food products which is conducted by professional inspectors from the laboratory and health section. The section also issues health certificates for importing and exporting food products.”

He urged the public to check the validity of the food items and their expiry dates before buying and call 933 for any complaints related to food products.

Several residents have expressed concern about the safety of food products in small supermarkets and groceries in residential areas, fearing food poisoning due to improper storage and defreezing of products to save power or due to power outage.

Salim Al Mohair, resident of Sharjah, said, “I prefer to buy food products, particularly children’s food, from the Cooperative Society or Carrefour, as they follow the regulations. The small groceries sell expired items and are switching of power in the night to save money, posing risks to people’s lives,” he said.

Afkar Abdullah

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