Here in Dubai, we can handle the truth. In fact, we have a whole department dedicated to it. Dubai Municipality created a WhatsApp service designed to give the truth, the whole truth and nothing but.
Here are some of biggest fibs it quashed in 2018. Remember, if you spot some #fakenews, then the authority’s serious rumour squad is happy to investigate, because the quote from THAT truth-laden movie scene, they “have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.”
Harmful Bottled Water
January saw this nugget of wisdom fall the DMs way. We all should drink more water, right? But should it be acidic or should it be alkaline? Social media was awash with the argument until the rumour squad waded in and announced “the pH in the drinking water is a quality characteristic and has no health effect. Mineral water doesn’t specify the natural pH because natural water has its own acidity according to the origin.”
They added: “All products in the local markets are under the supervision of the Food Safety Department, either during the manufacturing process, importing or circulation and to be verified that they meet the health standards and specifications, laws and legislation adopted”, before adding “these rumours are not based on scientific facts.” Ouch, let’s get some water on that burn.
Burn the Dough
A video showed burning dough that allegedly smelt of nylon and netizens were aghast, although we’ve all definitely eaten burnt toast at least once.
“Burning food products and sharing videos through social media continuously is not a scientific way to test them,” the DM’s Safety Department wisely noted, before reminding us that “all foodstuff establishments are under periodic inspections and samples are tested in the emirate to ensure they are compliant with the technical regulations, specifications and accredited laws and legislation.”
Another spicy food fib; accusations that a brand of chips caused stomach inflammation and corrosive gastritis. OK, so they’re not one of your five a day. But all snacks, whatever their flavour, follow standards set by the UAE in 2012 and the Food Safety Department of Dubai Municipality monitors them too. Snack away.
The rumour mill was being violently spun by a video shared across various social networking sites in the region. The clip shows eggs being cracked open and cooked in a frying pan with reports the egg was deliberately manufactured plastic.
DM didn’t chicken out of setting us straight – “Plastic at room temperature is solid and melts when it reaches close to 80 degrees Celsius. The substance shown in this video is liquid at room temperature and turns solid and white when it’s poured into a pan. What you are seeing isn’t plastic, it’s an egg!”
Adding Nitrogen Gas to Ice Cream
As the trend for molecular gastronomy fugged out Dubai’s restaurants, keyboard warriors came to blows over whether the use of liquid nitrogen in food processing and ice cream production was dangerous.
An icy reply from DM’s food safety experts: “This process is as safe as any other food preparation done by licensed food organisations…and it should be noted that nitrogen gas is not toxic.”
In 2016, DM launched a WhatsApp service, so Dubai residents can send suspect messages, images or videos to 050 107 7799. The municipality has promised to respond to queries within eight hours and has 34 specialist departments it can call on in busting those urban myths.