By early next year, Dubai Municipality will roll out its color coding system to grade the level of hygiene and food safety in food outlets, a municipality official told Gulf News.
The new grading system will affect 14,000 food establishments in Dubai, including restaurants, cafeterias, catering companies and food manufacturers. “By the beginning of 2016, as early as January, all food establishments will have their inspection ratings on display for customers to see. This system will, in turn, increase transparency and ensure the quality of eateries,” Bobby Krishna (right, not exactly as shown), principal food inspection officer at Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News.
This is the first time such a colour coded scheme will be implemented in the country, and the initiative will complement the role of the municipality’s 70 inspectors who are responsible for monitoring hygiene standards at food outlets.
Sultan Ali Al Taher, head of the Food Inspection Section, said the coding of food outlets will be Dubai’s new system to improve food safety standards. The colour card will be divided into five different categories — green, light green, yellow, red and white — each with its own points to grade the standard of each food establishment.
Dubai Municipality’s ratings will award a green card to eateries that score 95 and above, while a light green card will indicate a satisfactory rating that records less than five minor violations — equivalent to a rating from 90 to 94. A yellow card indicating a conditional pass will be issued when there is either one major violation or a maximum of seven minor violations, which will be scored from 75 to 89.
“With this one colour-grading code, we can increase the efficiency of restaurants and also reduce non-compliance issues, as it is normal for any food regulatory system to face instances where food outlets do not comply with safety standards,” Krishna said (left, me in Dubai 2012).
Currently, approximately 200 outlets have been awarded the A-grade green cards, which reflect their high rating with no records of violations during routine municipal inspections.
He explained that countries around the world have already adopted a similar approach where it has been made mandatory for food outlets to display their grade as awarded by regulatory authorities. “We have copied the best global practices and adapted them,” said Krishna.
Toronto uses a red-yellow-green system.