The Sharjah Municipality has stepped up crackdown on school canteens to ensure food safety and prevent obesity among students.
Dr Amal Al Shamsi, director of public health department at Sharjah Municipality, said that the school canteens are being targeted by the health inspectors to check the quality of the food products that are being sold there and to make sure they are safe and free from pollutants.
She added that the the municipality obligates all private schools in Sharjah to obtain a no-objection certificate from the food supplier that supplies food to the school cafeteria. The food control department reviews the certificate and the attached list of meals and food items that are to be sold in the school. The list of food items must be approved by the health authorities and the Ministry of Education.
"The municipality will continue to intensify inspection on the food supplier to ensure that the facility meets the requirements and specifications required to supply schools with meals. Permits are issued by the municipality for vehicles that transport the food stuffs to schools, provided they meet the prescribed standards."
The municipality carried out 34,000 visits to food establishments in 2019. The inspections covered all aspects including method, preparation and preservation of foodstuffs, and adherence of employees to good health practices. They were also meant to check if the employees were obtaining health occupational cards to prove that they are free of diseases and getting training under the Sharjah Food Safety Programme. The inspectors also checked the standards and the cleanliness of the facility, equipment, tools, and maintenance requirements.