- Every food outlet (restaurant, eatery) in Dubai to be assigned a QR code
- When scanned by customers, the QR code will take them to a webpage showing the grade of the outlet given by Dubai authorities in terms of adherence to hygiene and food safety standards
- The machine-readable QR code consists of array of black and white squares, typically used for storing web addresses or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone
Dubai: Want to check the adherence to safety and hygiene standards of a restaurant or food outlet you're visiting in Dubai? No problem.
A new QR Code system will allow you to choose food based on hygiene and safety in Dubai-based food outlets. The system was launched by the Dubai Municipality on Sunday.
Under this system, Dubai's Food Safety Department will issue smartphone-readable codes to food outlets through its "Food Watch" digital platform.
How to use the QR code
Using it is easy: When consumers scan the QR code of an eatery with their smartphones, it would lead them to a webpage that shows various details of the outlet — including its hygiene and food safety standard ratings.
It will be mandatory for food outlets to display the QR codes in their premises as and when they are issued one, officials said after Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, launched the system at the Gulfood Exhibition 2019 in Dubai on Sunday.
There are more than 18,000 food businesses in various categories according to Dubai Municipality.
18,000Number of food businesses in Dubai
QR codes will be issued to all of them in phases, starting with hotels, restaurants and other eateries in popular areas.
The food businesses are issued grades from A to E based on the standards of hygiene and food safety and the number and nature of violations recorded during inspections.
In 2015, the municipality had come up with a colour-coded sticker system that allowed diners to know the grades issued to food outlets.
Though displaying such stickers only became mandatory by the start of this year, officials said, the civic body has opted for the smart system of showing the ratings to ensure better transparency, improved food safety and paperless services.
Minister of State for Food Security Mariam Saeed Hareb Al Muhairi, who was briefed about the new system, said it is a great initiative from Dubai Municipality.
“It’s all about giving the consumers the tools to be able to judge for themselves about certain restaurants…What about the food safety at this restaurant? Is it at the highest levels possible? So, the consumers can choose themselves if they want to dine in this area or not,” she told Gulf News.
“These initiatives are very important for food security purposes because it really elevates food safety in the country which is very important to be able to improve our food security ranking and hopefully become number one in the future.”
Dawood Al Hajiri, director general of Dubai Municipality, said the initiative offers “big transparency to all customers”.
“We are emphasising that [transparency]. We have already issued the QR codes to several food businesses. Dubai World Trade Centre was the first one to be issued a QR Code and they have an A grade,” he told Gulf News.
No cheating, more safety
The webpage dedicated to each outlet is linked to the Food Watch where all details related to all the food establishments are stored digitally. Hence, outlets cannot cheat consumers by placing wrong colour-coded sticker on their premises.
“Even if any food outlet displays an old sticker to show a good rating it had got in a previous inspection and hides the new one where its poor rating is shown, the QR code will show the latest grade with the date of last inspection updated on Food Watch,” explained Eman Al Bastaki, director of the Food Safety Department.
“Eateries have the choice to place it on the door, table, menu, phones or anywhere else that is convenient for the customers to scan the code as soon as he or she enters the outlet,” she said.
Eateries have the choice to place it on the door, table, menu, phones or anywhere else that is convenient for the customers to scan the code as soon as he or she enters the outlet/.
When their rating is publicly available businesses are expected to compete with each other to raise their food safety and hygiene standards. “This will work in favour of businesses that maintain good standards to attract more business.”
In future, she said, customers will also be able to check the details of the licenses issued to food businesses.
“In the next phase, people will be able to see what kind of a license is issued to an outlet. So, if somebody is making cakes or taking up catering services, you can ask for the code and find out if they are licensed to do it. This facility will also reduce a lot of paper work for businesses and us also.”
Accessibility, location, web address, contact details etc. are the other details of food outlets available through QR code scanning. Dubai Municipality’s hotline number to register complaints 800900 is also given.
What does the grade say about the hygiene and food safety standard of an outlet?
B—Very good, but could be improved.
C—Acceptable, and should work on making improvements.
D–Poor and should work on making significant improvements
E—Very poor, and should work promptly to improve the hygiene and food safety standard.
Getting 4 consecutive Ds will result in temporary closure for one week.
Getting 2 consecutive E will result in temporary closure for one week.
What is a QR code?
A machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.
What is a Food Watch QR Code?
This is a QR Code generated by the Food Watch digital platform of Dubai Municipality’s Food Safety Department. This code is issued to food outlets. It stores the URL for a webpage that gives details about each food business.
What does it show?
When you scan the QR code of an eatery with your smartphone, you will be able open to a webpage that shows various details of the outlet including its rating in hygiene and food safety standards in the latest inspection.
Accessibility, location, web address, contact details etc. are the other details of food outlets available through QR code scanning. Dubai Municipality’s hotline number to register complaints 800900 is also shown.