New guidelines to cut food wastage during Ramadan
A visitor looking at candy sample at a Pakistan stall during the Gulfood show at Dubai World Trade Centre on Sunday. Photo by Neeraj Murali.
Dubai - According to the municipality, most of the food wastage happens at households and it goes up during Ramadan.
Dubai has laid down new guidelines to cut food wastage and streamline the donation of excess food prepared at banquets and buffets.
The "Heafz Al Na'amah" initiative launched at the Gulfood 2016 will make sure that surplus food from hotels, wedding halls, or home parties will not be wasted and will reach the needy in safe and hygienic conditions.
In June 2015, Khaleej Times had reported that the Dubai Municipality's Food Safety Department was drafting new guidelines for food establishments to keep food wastage in check, especially during the holy month of Ramadan and festivals and parties.
On Sunday, the department signed a partnership agreement with four charity groups and four major hotel groups in Dubai in this regard.
The event was attended by the Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance and Chairman of Dubai Municipality; Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality.As per the new guidelines, food establishments should inform charities about the schedule of events that may have surplus food. Surplus food should not be displayed, but must be stored as per the safety regulations issued by the department.
At the same time, the charities that collect the food should make sure the donated food is repacked and transported in good condition.
For this, they should appoint a Person-In-Charge who acts as a food safety manager overseeing the hygiene and safety aspects of the collection, transportation and distribution of the food items, an official told Khaleej Times.
"We have a registration and tracking system for implementing these new rules," said Shamsa Gharib Al Muttawa, principle food safety awareness officer.
"Both the food establishments and charities have to follow the checklists provided by us and submit these reports to us so that we will have all the data about the volume and condition of the food donated and distributed."
She said the department will also send inspectors to monitor the safety of food donation activities.
Lootah said the initiative is launched as part of social solidarity and will benefit needy families and individuals including labourers, as well as the general public in iftar tents during Ramadan.
According to the municipality, most of the food wastage happens at households and it goes up during Ramadan.
Salem bin Mesmar, Assistant Director General of Dubai Municipality said the requirements to be met by the food establishments and the charities coordinating the food distribution will ensure that needy people receive safe food and in turn cut food wastage.
"We urge everyone, whether in a hotel or at home, who has extra food that can be donated should make use of this opportunity to serve the community. They can either call the charities directly or take their details from the municipality's call centre 800900," he said.
All cooked food items except for expired food, non-halal foods such as those containing pork and alcohol, are allowed for donation through the drive.
Emirates Red Crescent, Royati Family Society, Tarahum Charity Foundation, Al Maktoum Foundation, Armani Hotel, Dubai World Dubai World Trade Centre, Al Bustan and Murooj Rotana Group and Madinat Jumeirah Hotel Group are the entities that entered into a pact for the initiative in its first phase.