Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dubai Municipality launches food recovery programme for the needy

Dubai, 22 September 2008: The Food Control Department at Dubai Municipality has announced the launch of a "Food Recovery Program" which is aimed at distributing healthy, uneaten food from parties, households, commercial kitchens, markets, and restaurants among people in need.

Khalid Sharif Al Awadhi, Director of the Food Control Department, said the department is currently working with charity organisations to lead this national effort by coordinating with public and private enterprises in order to rescue thousands of kilograms of healthy, uneaten food in this country that would otherwise be thrown away.

"Dubai imports around 85 per cent of the food and we waste an enormous amount of it. Nearly 20 percent of food goes to waste — in, households, commercial kitchens, markets, and restaurants. Even in a society where just about everything is disposable, good food going to waste is unacceptable. This situation calls for us to act immediately," he said.

He noted that Dubai Municipality will lead the initiative to collect food and distribute to various organisation who in turn can distribute it to people in need. The type of foods that would be collected will include perishable produce from wholesale or retail sources, prepared foods from the food service industry and processed food with long shelf life.

Al Awadhi added that food security or insecurity has been a constant concern for decades but the renewed surge in interest in food security worldwide has seemingly been sparked by the rising food prices. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that every 30 seconds, a child dies of hunger and every day, 25,000 human beings die of malnutrition. Every day, more than 850 million people go hungry. "In this context, what each country and each individual does is vitally important, but even more important is what we do together," he said.

"We would like to reassure everyone that we will be serving only safe food to the people in need and the food control department will take all measures to ensure that food is collected and served safely. The organisations who wish to collect perishable, cooked foods must have proper storage and transportation facilities," Al Awadhi noted.

This program, he added, would also involve providing guidelines for collection and distribution of food, training of people involved etc. Food establishments and individuals can support the program by registering with the Food Control Department. For registrations, call 04 2064211. Charity organisations that wish to participate can also contact the food control department in the same number

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