17 food stores shut down but we're not telling you which ones!

Last Wednesday, the Oman Observer carried a piece stating that the "Muscat Municipality has shut down 17 food stores for violating the specifications and decisions of the municipality's health affairs department".

The article then goes on to record that 2,677 inspections were carried out across Muscat in the first half of August 2014 and that 3,606kg of fruit and vegetables were destroyed along with 254 cans of food.

First of all, great work by the Muscat Municipality inspectors, I truly mean that - the more vigorous and persistent the inspections are, the better food safety we'll all have. I'm sick of paying for food, getting it home and opening that steak to find it's rotten on the other side, or the expensive imported fruits that are all mouldy under the top layer. It's really great to see these inspections ramped up and real punitive actions taken.

But - what is with the refusal to name the shut down institutions? I've no clue, but I'm going to guess here that its a cultural issue linked to not wanting to cause dishonour (perhaps?) to the establishments owners? I think the public should know who these establishments are so they can be extra vigilant if shopping there in the future (inspectors can't be everywhere 24/7 after all).

A few months ago we had the same thing with a bunch of schools that got shut down - and the list wasn't published then either. The list did eventually leak out and it was a list of mostly (from what it seemed to me) Villa Schools that had not invested in it's premises to meet the required standards of an education facility set out by the Ministry of Education.

Coincidently, here are two great tips on how to a) revive berries that are starting to mould, and b) stop berries from getting mouldy in the first place. For the ultra-lazy or only semi-interested; for the starting to mould/bruised up fruit, cut it up and mix it with two teaspoons of sugar... it seems to give the fruit extra shelf life. To stop them getting mouldy in the first place, wash em in vinegar (1 part vinegar 10 parts water). Et voilà.

More soon.

le fin.
17 food stores shut down but we're not telling you which ones! 17 food stores shut down but we're not telling you which ones! Reviewed by Sythe on Sunday, August 24, 2014 Rating: 5


  1. The municipality should publish inspection reports (or an aggregated version of them) online. There was a similar issue with some recalled chicken not that long ago.. That sound definitely have been named. I just don't get it.. Ugh

  2. Well, don’t we all know the issues with food safety here.

    The "proper shops" where may of us like to buy from, do likely belong to certain influential families and therefore it is very unlikely that we will get to know about any adverse findings.

    That many of the small corner shops are unhygienic seems quite the norm.

    Food items, such as "fresh" eggs, bread, etc out in the open. Shops without any sort of air conditioning. "Chillers" that are barely more than glass fronted cabinets. But also some of the expensive "western" supermarkets have a lot to answer for. Point in case, "Al F..." at Markaz Al Bahja. How often are there plainly rotten and moldy fruit and vegetables on display? Again, chillers that do not chill.

    Chest freezers that are encrusted in ice, a clear sign of bad temperature control. Many items that sit frozen in these chest were clearly either defrosted at some stage or show signs of "freezer burn".

  3. Al Fair turns their freezers off at night to save electricity- that is why so much of their frozen food has ice-coatings or freezer burn.
    I don't eat pork but I have seen some of the sausages people have bought there and they look more like the Grinch's cock than something you'd want to eat.
    Just because Al Fair is more expensive, doesn't make it any better than the rest, quite the opposite I would say.


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