Microbiology lab, stiff penalties to counter adulteration of meat

ABU DHABI — Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) plans to set up a modern microbiology lab to screen meat and to impose stiff penalties like levying fines of up to Dh20,000 or withdrawal of licences, after several cases of adulterated meat peddled by various outlets have been reported.

By Atef Hanafi

Published: Wed 16 Aug 2006, 10:05 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:11 PM

The lab will become operational by the end of this year.

"A number of cases of cheating were reported in meat like adding starch or intestinal remains to the minced meats or injecting chickens or meats with water to increase their weight," Dr Abdul Lateef Yusouf, Head of Meats Section at the ADFCA, told Khaleej Times.

Dr Yusouf said cheaters had not even spared milk products. "As for dairy products some low fat milks are sold as full cream. Antibiotics are also added to prevent growth of microbes under the poor hygienic condition during the processing," he cautioned.

Dr Yousuf said these cases and other factors had prompted the authorities to introduce strict measures to ensure consumer safety. "Now, to ensure consumer safety, all meats displayed at butcheries are subject to strict control," he affirmed.

"The ADFCA is also planning to increase the number of inspectors and secure more vehicles to allow them carry out their duty properly," he said.

According to him, the ADFCA keeps a vigilant eye on all slaughterhouses in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to ensure validity of all local or imported meats available in the market.

As for imported meats, he referred to a number of accredited societies in the countries of origin whose responsibility it is to ensure that the animals are butchered according to the Islamic teachings and the meat is fit for human consumption. He said special committees also travel regularly to the supplying countries to ensure that all hygienic standards and other specifications are met.

"Imported meats are subject to thorough tests and imports from countries affected by epidemic diseases like mad cow are banned," he noted.

On emiratisation in the ADFCA, he said the national manpower is on the rise and had reached now 30 per cent of the total staff.

"The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) will train 20 student to carry out inspections. The ADFCA has only 13 to 4 inspectors," he said, adding that more inspectors would be appointed for the Western Region, which has only two inspectors at present.

There are only one inspector each in Bani Yas and Shahamaand Mussafah.

Spelling out other regulations, he explained that minced meats will only be sold in major shops and shopping malls. There were 15 shops for kiba and sausages having their own standards.

On non-compliance of restaurants with hygiene requirements, Mohammed Jalal, Head of the ADFCA's Communications Section, disclosed that the authority would organise training programmes for their staff with the aim of maintaining the cultural character of these food outlets.

"They will be awarded a certificate allowing them to practise the profession as per a new approach that respects their cultural characteristics," he added.

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