Dubai will begin requiring all food establishments to have a certified Person in Charge for food safety and quality, a move that continues the municipality’s drive to improve food safety after two children lost their lives to foodborne illness last year.

“Food safety is a critical part of operating a food business.  Illnesses resulting from improper food handling and preparation result in unnecessary human suffering and a lot of financial loss,” said Khalid Mohammed Sharif, Director of Food Control Department in Dubai Municipality after the announcement yesterday.

“The [Person in Charge] can be the owner of the business or a designated person, such as a shift leader, chef, kitchen manager or similar individual who is always present and involved in the work site and has direct authority, control or supervision over employees who engage in the storage, preparation, display, or service of foods.”

“We do come across food businesses that violate food safety regulations and it is worrying that some businesses do it more often than others and put consumers at risk,” added Sharif. “In such establishments, owner or managerial control on food safety was found to be very poor.  People in managerial role were either not trained well or not involved in enforcing food safety practices in their business.”

The new rule kicks in January 2011, but Sharif said the municipality will begin training people in December.