New Shawarma Regulations

new regulationsnew regulationsMain Photo1With a luscious combination of flavours and aromas, one of Dubai’s most loved snack foods, the shawarma, is a delicious indulgence that is enjoyed not only by Emiratis, but my expats and visitors too. However, as Sultan Al Tahir, Dubai Municipality’s Head of Food Inspection points out: “By their very nature, many shawarma outlets are risk-prone, so we are now working with food outlets in order to help them meet the necessary requirements of the new regulations regarding shawarmas.”

Sultan says that initially the Municipality will be concentrating on cafeterias; around 800 throughout Dubai. “The new regulations include tighter controls on meat sourcing, storage, space for the stall, equipment, and chillers,” he explains. “In addition, occasionally our inspectors have found salmonella contamination in shawarma outlets, which can of course bring about food poisoning. Eggs get infected with salmonella far more than other food item, and because some shawarma makers use raw eggs (which are vulnerable to salmonella) instead of pasteurised eggs to create mayonnaise there is a very real threat to public health. With this in mind, the regulations have now been changed – it will now be illegal to use raw eggs in the shawarma production process.

Third Paragraph“Chicken, the most popular meat in a shawarma, is also commonly associated with salmonella, so the new regulations are very risk specific, we don’t want to wait until food poisoning occurs.” That is why the Municipality is being very proactive with its new campaign, working with the cafeterias on a one-to-one basis. It will also provide literature in a variety of languages, with Sultan saying: “We fully understand the challenges that food outlets have when training a multinational workforce, so now staff will be able to read about the implementation of these new regulations in their own language.”

It is important to point out, though, that Dubai has an admirable track record in food safety, so those people who enjoy a shawarma should not get nervous. “We are not suggesting that people stop eating shawarma!” Sultan exclaims. “The new regulations will simply help food outlets to continue to comply with all of the existing food safety rules … but to a greater degree.”

LAst ParagraphThe thing with shawarmas is that every cafeteria makes them differently; some have unique ‘homemade’ sauces, some pile the shawarma high with different ingredients, others less so. But, thanks to Dubai Municipality, the one thing that all of these food outlets will now have in common is the high standard of food preparation and cooking. Enjoy!

  • By Bilal Al Halabi, Al Halabi Ref. & Kitchen Equipment

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