An average of roughly one out of every 20 inspections of food establishments in Qatar’s capital last year turned up a breach of health and hygiene laws, government officials say.
The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) said 26,055 surprise inspections were conducted at various restaurants, eateries, juice stalls and food stores across Doha in 2015.
Those visits led to 1,294 citations under Law No. (3) of the year 1975 covering health and hygiene regulations, the ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page yesterday. In some cases, businesses were caught handled food without a proper licence, it added.
The ministry temporarily closed 161 eateries in Doha for health and food control violations last year. Slightly more than half (85) were in the Industrial Area, the statement added.
Temporary closures can last up to 60 days, with the possibility of being extended if the eatery does not adequately address the violation, according to MMUP’s website.
Inspectors also ordered 5,721 tons of food products destroyed because it had either expired, was spoiled or violated specification standards, the statement added.
Around 800 food samples were sent to the lab for testing. Results showed that 745 samples were fit for human consumption, 11 samples were unfit for human consumption, and 44 that violated specification standards.
In November, several well-known eateries were temporary shut down for health violations including a branch of dessert shop Gelato Mondo, located on Najma street, which was shut down for 15 days for having “spoiled food.”
Additionally, a branch of Yellow Cab Pizza in Dar Al Salam Mall was closed for 15 days for having “expired food” in its kitchen. Al Tabkha at the Pearl-Qatar was closed for 30 days for a similar offence.
The popular Chowking restaurant in Dar Al Salam Mall was shut down the same month for 14 days for preparing food under “unsanitary circumstances.”
In October, The Muaither outlet of Gad restaurant adjacent to Aspire Park was shut down for two months, after MMUP officials found that the food was being stored in filthy containers, and that meat was left uncovered.
Earlier in September, a Pizza Hut branch in Umm Salal was closed for 15 days for preparing food under “unsanitary circumstances.” The MMUP posted a picture on its website at the time of what appeared to be a human hair on a piece of fried chicken.
A part of the large four-star rated restaurant , the Orient Pearl on the Corniche, was also shut after videos circulated online of stray cats roaming around in the restaurant’s shawarma and fast food kitchen.
MMUP’s inspections extended beyond restaurants.
Nine tons of fruit deemed “unfit for human consumption” were destroyed by the control unit at the Central Market.
The MMUP a statement said that some of the fruits had an acceptable color, appearance and odor. However, a more thorough inspection revealed that many items were actually inedible.
Residents who believe they have suffered food poisoning from a restaurant can report their cases to the Supreme Council of Health hotline at 6674-0948 and 6674-0951.