Sloppy transportation leads to food poisoning
Insufficient care when transporting food is causing an unnecessary number of food-poisoning cases in the UAE, said Sven Mostegl, a food consultant and chief executive for catering company Professional Food Solutions, based in Jebel Ali, Dubai.
Talking at Gulfood, he stressed that even when food has been cooked and prepared in hygienic conditions, if it isn’t transported correctly, high levels of bacteria can develop and put diners at risk.
“The minimum serving temperature for cooked meals is 60°C, but when food is collected from our distribution centre and put in a metal container without being sealed properly, and driven around for a few hours, it easily drops to 30-40°C, which is the danger zone," he said.
“Cooked food needs to be sealed in a temperature-controlled box. In the Thermo Future Box [a product that Mostegl distributes], the food will only lose 1-2°C an hour.
Mostegl said the problem was most apparent in catering for labour camps. There were more than 250 reported cases of food poisoning in Abu Dhabi camps last year, which he attributed to "wrong raw material, wrong raw handling and wrong transportation".
“I work with these products because I care," he said about the lightweight, cost-effective boxes. "I care about healthy food, hygienic food, and I care about the people.
"I have been asked to present to the Dubai Municipality next month and I am happy to do that. The Dubai government cares and wants to increase its international reputation. The Abu Dhabi government is getting very strict too, much better than other Middle East countries."
Mostegl, whose food production company produces healthy meals for large-scale catering, is also working to reduce the amount of wastage created by today’s practices.
“More than 50% of raw material is not reaching the consumer,” he said. “From farm to transport and preparation, we need to reduce this."