Dubai Municipality carries out 69,500 food inspections in 2020
Dubai Municipality revealed that it has conducted 69,461 field inspection visits to food establishments in 2020, and temporary closure orders were issued to 451 establishments due to their poor hygiene levels.
The year 2020 witnessed an increase in closures, compared to 2019, due to non-compliance with precautionary measures during the continuous campaigns in all areas of the emirate, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and the inspections targeted vital areas with high population density and tourist areas that were frequented by a large number of visitors.
1,303 new food establishments were opened during 2020, which is an increase of 8% over the year 2019 and these new establishments included outlets for various food activities. This is considered as an indicator to attract investment in this sector in Dubai, given the ease and speed of procedures of the relevant departments, such as the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. In addition to that Dubai Municipality has raised the standard of evaluation levels for food establishments, which in turn posed another challenge, due to the conditions that the world is going through from the Corona pandemic, and Dubai was ready to take up this challenge.
The Food Safety Department in Dubai Municipality has paid great attention to the use of modern technologies in managing the control operations of food establishments, pointing out that, in keeping with the Dubai government’s approach to transforming into a smart government, the general inspection and fines system has been developed through the application of a number of electronic systems.
The smart transformation has taken place through the smart organizational inspection system, which allows to ensure that the inspection process is carried out professionally and impartially, and it is a unified system for all inspection operations in Dubai Municipality, and is compatible with smart devices. This system has been designed based on international best practices, and the structure of assessment systems, and the checklists in the systems are followed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the British Food Safety Agency (FSA), and the Australian City of Melbourne System.
The smart organizational inspection system was designed to give the level of compliance in two different ways, the degree and color cards, which are based on the number and category of violations detected during the inspection and auditing process. The smart inspection system aims to improve the performance of resources and the speed of their completion, through automating the process of scheduling inspection visits, evaluating establishments, simplifying procedures (by linking activities to the inspection list), and promoting the principle of transparency..
The smart inspection system is linked with the electronic licensing system of Dubai Department of Economic Development, and the system classifies food establishments, according to the size of the activity, and the degree of risk, which is classified into three – high, medium and low risk classifications. There is a checklist according to each activity, and inspection visits are scheduled, based on the establishment’s evaluation and risk. Reports are sent by e-mails and text messages, and the feedback from the establishments for corrective actions, objections or complaints also.
The system is also characterized by effective communication with the target groups of the inspection process (supervisors, managers and owners of food establishments), as they can easily access their program page, through the food establishment license number, and thus, view all inspection reports and results on their own, and they can attach the corrective actions form to the results of the inspection, and they can also object to the results of the inspection visit, through a dedicated link.