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Why were 113 shawarma SMEs in Dubai closed down?

113 facilities have "completely stopped" selling shawarmas after they failed to comply with Dubai Municipality's new regulations governing the dish's sale

Lack of hygiene and poor space management led to the shutdown of 113 shawarma SMEs in Dubai. [Representational image]
Lack of hygiene and poor space management led to the shutdown of 113 shawarma SMEs in Dubai. [Representational image]

Lack of hygiene and poor space management led to the shutdown of 113 small and medium establishments (SMEs) selling shawarma in Dubai. 

Earlier this month, Dubai Municipality began applying a new set of guidelines required for preparing and selling shawarma in the emirate.

This move comes after a six-month deadline given to SMEs to revamp their facilities in line with the new guidelines ended on 31 October. 

Sultan Al Tahir, head of the food inspection section at Dubai Municipality, said 572 SME food outlets were sent warnings since May 2016 to amend their facilities. 

He continued: "During our routine inspection campaigns to these establishments we found that they do not have enough space to prepare this food, and bring the meat or chicken from other establishments.

"They also did not have a space to [place] other ingredients such as mayonnaise or garlic sauce, and they [stored] these outside refrigerators and close to places meant for cooking and preparing sandwiches." 

Up to 146 establishments (25%) of the 572 that were notified have completely updated their facilities in line with the new requirements. 

Meanwhile, 172 establishments (30%) are working on the required changes, Al Tahir said. 

141 outlets (25%) have not taken any action to rectify their facilites as per the new requirements, and 113 facilities (20%) have "completely stopped" selling shawarma in the emirate. 

The local order for the year 2003 stipulates the guidelines that ensure health and safety in Dubai, and this order will be levied on shawarma SMEs that have failed to comply with new regulations. 

The new guidelines cover topics such as location selection based on energy and water supply, waste management and disposal equipment, and food equipment management. 

Al Tahir added: "There should be enough space for the storage of raw materials used [in the shawarma], space for the movement of personnel and equipment, and primary materials that need to be used to facilitate waste disposal." 

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