Muscat: The Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources has issued a ministerial decree to amend some of the health regulations for the operation of food trucks in Oman.
The amended regulations state, "The barbecue and corn should be prepared on demand and in front of the customers, and the remaining food not allowed to be stored or used in the next day."
Article one of the decision also states: "Mobile cafe is a place to prepare and sell meals by special purpose car or specially designed trailer. This is a food facility that is subject to all food safety decisions."
Obtaining an approval from the General Authority for Civil Defense and Ambulance is also required for mobile coffee under the new regulations. The ministry's decree says, "A mobile cafe business has to meet the following requirements, such as obtaining a license from PACDA and other competent authorities. The driver's cabin shall be separate from the area dedicated to selling and preparing foodstuffs for the truck and trailer, and employees are not allowed to sleep inside the truck."
In 2016, the Omani government gave the green signal to food truck businesses, and a year after, Muscat Municipality issued a list of health and safety requirements to regulate mobile eateries.
After getting necessary approvals from the authorities concerned, food trucks can be parked in any public place, including beaches, stadiums, and parking lots of public parks.
The new decree adds: "It is not permissible to carry out the activity of the mobile café outside the sites specified by the municipality, and the municipality has the right to revoke (cancel) the license in case of violation." The regulations add that "the truck should not be parked within 200 meters of another truck."
The ministry has also set a list of equipment that all food trucks and mobile cafes need to have, such as shed conforming to the standard specifications, a non-rusting preparation table, suitable ventilation and lighting, water tank, an insect-killing device, and the owners have to be keep the area clean.
The decision said: "In the case of a food poisoning, the mobile coffee will fine OMR300, and it will remain closed until the cause of the poisoning has been investigated and removed. If the same violation is repeated, the fine shall be doubled and the license shall be suspended for 6 months."
The detail of the source of foodstuff should be made available and clear for customers and municipal authorities, especially for meat, the decree states. "Health requirements for the practice of barbecue is to provide proof of the source of the meat used for the barbecue, and submit it to the regulatory authorities upon request (purchase bill or voucher from slaughterhouse, or from licensed shops)."
The ministerial decree also lists punishments and fines in case of violating any of the new rules. Fines include: an amount of OMR10 in case of practicing such activity without obtaining a health card or not renewing it; a fine of OMR30 in the case of not keeping insects and rodents at bay, and to correct the violation immediately. In the case of the spread of insects or rodents, the activity will be stopped for 10 days; an OMR100 fine in case of circulation of foodstuffs prohibited or unfit for human consumption.