Muscat: Most dry fruit sellers in Muscat have been found violating international standards for displaying their products, a recent study showed.
Reacting to the issue, the Muscat Municipality has asked shops selling nuts in the governorate to store their stock in glass jars, so that a consumer is not able to directly touch the nuts.
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Furthermore, the municipality has imposed a set of health and technical regulations, including the usage of clean and proper cutlery when tasting the nuts.
According to the new laws, a clear and visible expiry date should be kept on all jars, and mixing old nuts with new ones is illegal. Most shops do not own a health certificate for the displayed items, which is illegal and violates international laws.
A research team of five professional lab experts conducted the study involving 27 nut stores in the wilayats of Muttrah, Bausher and Al Seeb.
The team took 43 samples of raw nuts to check for Aflatoxin, a family of toxins produced by certain fungi that are found in some agricultural crops, such as nuts.
The Central Laboratory of Muscat Municipality tests found this toxin in many samples.
However, the amount of Aflatoxin did not exceed or violate the international or Gulf Cooperation Council standards.
An official at the municipality stressed the importance of having a good cooling and airing system in such shops to preventing the nuts from becoming rotten.