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Hard to stomach

Hard to stomach

Hygiene standards at UAE restaurants are in the news again – even those workers who have undergone training have failed the test. But do these reports make you less likely to eat out?

July 28, 2010 5:19 by

Abu Dhabi’s food safety watchdog has been in the news this week, blaming outdated attitudes to food safety for food workers failing hygiene tests.

According to the strategic plan laid out by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, all employees handling food in the industry must be trained in hygiene by the end of 2012. According to reports, so far about 40 percent have undergone training (17,000 employees).

But here’s the kicker: Of those who have undergone training, 60 percent have failed the exams. That means that in total so far, only 11 percent of all Abu Dhabi’s food workers have passed the food safety exams.

The National says that earlier, the authority had blamed language barriers for the problem, but this week it says the absence of a culture of hygiene and food safety in restaurants and food outlets was also a major cause.

“Unfortunately a lot of people think going into the kitchen and dealing with food does not need any science and anyone can do it,” said Mohammed al Reyaysa, the authority’s spokesman. “This is an old way of thinking and it is changing after the requirements and regulations being implemented.”

Kipp is worried. Very worried. Do these Abu Dhabi figures represent the situation across the whole UAE? And how can it be that after training there is such a high failure rate for the exams?

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that passing the test is not a requirement – they should make it a condition of employment, and we’re sure the pass rate might improve. In fact, it should be made a condition of employment regardless of the low pass rate, to help protect the customer. Lack of basic hygiene really can kill people in the food business.

Having said all this, Kipp is still off out for dinner tonight. What about you?

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