The Maldives Food and Drugs Authority (MFDA) has shutdown Billabong International High School’s canteen after the authority’s inspectors determined that it did not meet hygiene regulations.
Media Coordinator of the MFDA Jameela Adam said the authority would not close an eatery if the condition of the place was “not that poor.’”
“Our first priority is to suggest the improvement of the hygiene condition without forcing them to shut down their business,’’ said Jameela. ‘’But there is this certain criteria that all food outlets are required to have, which is the minimum standard. If any food outlet’s condition is poorer than those standards, we ask them to close the place immediately.’’
The MFDA has ceased providing reasons for the closures after complaints from outlet owners. Prior to that details for closures were disclosed – in one instance, a teashop was shut after inspectors discovered a live goat in the toilet.
‘’I can confirm that the hygiene condition of Billabong’s canteen was very poor,’’ she said. ‘’We took pictures and showed them what we found, and they also agreed that they had to correct those issues.’’
‘’Issues such as finding live animals, cockroaches, house flies and other foreign materials inside the food outlets are normally the major issues,’’ she said.
Jameela also noted that food inspectors had observed that a lot of expatriate food outlets in Hulhumale’ had been operating without the authorisation of the MFDA.
‘’We have closed many expat food outlets in Hulhumale’ for operating without MFDA permission,’’ she said.
She also said it was not the aim of the MFDA to shut down food outlets.
‘’Our goal is to ensure that safe food provided to customers in all food outlets,’’ she added.
Recently, famous restaurants such as West Park, Raaveriya and Alfresco Café were closed by the MFDA. Most reopened after addressing the authority’s complaints.