Workers' 'squalid' catering unit in UAE closed after hundreds fall sick
Posted: March 28th, 2011 - 7:33pm by Doug Powell
The United Arab Emirates has made food safety a priority, and food service companies have apparently imported some Western-style BS explanations when people barf.
A spokesthingy for a labor camp operated by Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group, told The National.
"The safety of our staff is our utmost priority. … In more than two decades of operation, and serving 150,000 meals a day all over the UAE, this is the first instance of food poisoning at any of our camps."
Not much consolation to the 236 workers who were diagnosed with food poisoning; the catering unit was found to be operating without a licence and under "squalid conditions."
Investigators from the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) have closed down the catering unit at the Habshan Labour Camp after 117 workers were taken to Madinat Zayed Hospital on Saturday and Sunday, and a further 119 were treated on site at the camp.
Inspectors found cockroaches inside the water dispensers and destroyed 675kg of cooked rice which was kept in "unsafe conditions for more than four hours", according to a statement released by ADFCA.
The inspection report stated the camp, which caters for 2,200 workers, was "violating all norms of hygiene and disregarding the health consequences for the labourers."
Cross-contamination - mixing meat, poultry and vegetables, both raw and uncooked, in the same freezer - was apparent, and food products did not have manufacturing details on them, so may have been expired, the report said.
Mohammed al Reyaysa, the director of communications at ADFCA, described the conditions as "shocking" and said "the people behind this disaster will not go unpunished."