Dubai: Residents get free health checks, diet plans at food safety awareness walk

The initiative aims to collect at least 1 million pledges in the coming months


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sat 17 Dec 2022, 6:19 PM

Several Dubai residents turned up at Zabeel Park to participate in the fun walk organised by Dubai Municipality on Saturday to spread awareness about the food safety pledge.

Launched last month by the civic body, the ‘I Pledge to Food Safety’ campaign targets homemakers, children, house help and anyone who cooks or handles eatables. It aims to collect at least 1 million pledges in the coming months.

The event was free for all to take part, and participants were given T-shirts. Pamphlets detailing necessary precautions for safe food handling were also handed out among participants. Also present at the event to add some fun and colour were the food heroes, a concept launched by DM to promote healthy eating among children.

Cristi Ana Dimayuga participated in the walk with her friend and children. The hygiene officer who works with the Mariott group said she thought it was the perfect opportunity to introduce the concept of food safety to her children. “Food is an everyday thing,” she said.

“Habits for safe food handling should be inculcated from childhood as it is one of the most important lessons for life.”

The Filipino national said she follows several tips at home to ensure safety. “I always cook food thoroughly,” she said. “We always wash our fruits and vegetables well. We buy our food from good sources and try to eat minimal junk. Also, most importantly, I wash my hands well before beginning food prep. It is surprising how many people miss this simple step.”

Before beginning, the participants were invited to warm up for the walk with several simple exercises. One of the event partners, Elite Home Body, was also providing free body assessments at the venue. A dietician was on hand to give healthy meal plans to those that required it.

Prashanth and Rony, employees of Lulu group, were also part of the walk. “Dubai Municipality reached out to several retailers including Lulu,” said Prashanth. “We came as part of the outreach programme to participate and lend our support to this initiative.”

“Food safety is of utmost importance,” said Rony. “But such awareness programs are usually targeted at food safety professionals and not the general public. So, this initiative is very special and very much the need of the hour.”

Other partners of the event included food and beverage companies like Hayatna and Barakat and Aster Clinics. Food samples were handed out and health tests were conducted to encourage safe food handling and a healthier lifestyle.

Norma Masangwi, who works as the food hygiene officer at Sushi Samba restaurant, said she learnt about the event on social media and decided to attend. “We always try to create awareness about food safety among our customers to practice good habits at their homes and offices,” she said.

“However, it is easier said than done. The biggest mistake people make is that they don’t pay attention to cross contamination. They often handle raw meat and cooked food in the same place without cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces. That is just an accident waiting to happen. So, such initiatives are very important to spread messages of good habits when handling food.”

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