The public can donate packaged and canned food like bread, yoghurt, water, laban, fruits and vegetables
The Dubai Municipality (DM) will deploy Food Bank fridges in supermarkets, malls and near labour camps before Ramadan, to allow the community to donate their surplus food to help those in need, Khaleej Times has learned.
As part of the UAE Food Bank initiative launched last year to collect and distribute surplus food to those in need and fight food waste, the civic body’s Food Safety Department will relocate some of its mosque fridges to more accessible places near supermarkets and labour accommodations.
The municipality had placed 80 fridges at mosques last year to help the community engage in the food bank initiative and donate their surplus foods. However, some of these fridges which were utilised minimally will be moved to more accessible places.
This year, fridges will be kept near supermarkets, smaller malls and other places, making it accessible for the common man. The fridges will allow supermarkets and nearby hotels and restaurants approved by DM to fill up the fridges with surplus food. It will also let the public do their bit by donating their excess food.
Sajiv Raghavan, food health inspection officer, told Khaleej Times that the fridges will be available before Ramadan, enabling the public to donate packaged and canned food like bread, yoghurt, water, laban, fruits and vegetables.
However, the number of fridges to be added at the public facilities are still not determined, as the civic is still in talks with hypermarkets.
For the food bank initiative, the municipality has already partnered with over 36 hotels, hypermarkets and charity associations including Lulu Hypermarkets, Choithram and Spinneys, who are providing the bank with daily donations.
“We will get in touch with these hypermarkets to add fridges to their locations. Lulu, for example, has agreed to place a fridge in front of Lulu Village Supermarket and depending on public’s response, we will be moving more fridges to other Lulu locations,” said Raghavan.
In the future, the municipality will also partner with nearby hotel and restaurants so they can place excess food in fridges following the food safety precautions set by the food safety department.
Raghavan added that the fridges will be supervised by Dubai Municipality food inspectors. “Apart from the regular visits by the food inspectors, we request supermarkets to provide a trained volunteer who would check the hygiene trash the leftover food (if any) at the end or starting of the day and disinfect the fridge at equal intervals,” said Raghavan.
The municipality is also open to other volunteers who would like to receive training on the related areas if they are interested to be a part of this.
While the fridges currently only accept canned and packaged food, the municipality is further discussing a supervised system that could later allow the public to donate cooked food in the future.
Raghavan said campaigns and promotions would be carried out to raise people’s awareness of the initiative through traditional and social media.
In the first quarter of 2018, the UAE Food Bank (Al Qouz Branch) has collected almost 232 tonnes of of food from supermarkets and food establishments. The municipality opened its second branch last October on World Food Day next to the Canadian University of Dubai, where surplus packaged and canned food from nearby supermarkets and food establishments is given to charity associations in order to distribute it to people in need.
Food Watch App to locate fridges
The municipality will integrate the new locations of the fridges to the Food Watch, which the Food Safety department has recently launched and is currently in its first phase.
“The locations of all fridges along with the maps would be known once they are all moved to their new relocated areas,” said Raghavan.
The Food Watch platform facilitates data exchange between authorities, food businesses, service providers and consumers. The smart app also allows the public to fully trace foods with validated ingredient and nutritional information. The public can access the app on http://www.foodwatch.ae
Source : The Khaleej Times