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Monday, July 26, 2021

Amid growing complaints, SCH launches food poisoning hotline in Qatar

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In a bid to improve standards of hygiene in restaurants, the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) is increasing the number of spot checks on food outlets and has launched a hotline for residents to report food poisoning.

The council is responsible for monitoring food establishments and implementing Qatar’s food laws along with the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP/Baladiya).

In a statement, the SCH said it has embarked on an intensive inspection campaign, collecting food samples from all restaurants and food outlets in the country including suppliers.

The inspection teams, which include specialized doctors from the SCH’s communicable diseases department and the environmental health inspection department, will also medically test workers responsible for preparing food to ensure they are not carrying infections.

Those found to be handling food in an unhygienic way would be immediately sacked, the Gulf Times added.

Victims’ hotline

Residents who wish to report cases of food poisoning can use the SCH’s new hotline mobile numbers – 6674 0948 and 6674 0951. Once a report is filed, a team from the SCH will visit the affected people, then inspect the related food outlet and collect samples for laboratory examination.

The crackdown follows reports last week of a family of four which suffered food poisoning after eating chicken, rice and salad at the popular Habeeb’s Turkish restaurant on Commercial Road in the Old Airport area.

The SCH closed down the restaurant until further notice, and yesterday said that a medical report prepared by its environmental health section confirmed that the outlet served contaminated food and violated health regulations.

Tests conducted in the Central Food Laboratory at SCH found three types of bacteria causing diseases in food served by the restaurant. Medical tests on the victims also showed that they were infected by the same bacteria, as well as one of the workers of the eatery, the SCH said.

Habeeb’s will remain closed until inspectors are satisfied that it has taken all necessary measures to sufficiently improve hygiene standards.

As part of the SCH’s new campaign, experts will undertake community awareness drives, and organize seminars and training sessions about food contamination to improve understanding among owners and workers in food establishments.

Closures

Both the SCH and the MMUP have recently stepped up efforts to monitor hygiene levels in Qatar’s restaurants and food shops and take action against those who break the law.

Chowking 1 MMUP
Chowking was closed for 10 days by the MMUP for selling food made with moldy ingredients.

Just over a week ago, MMUP ordered the temporary closure of a branch of the popular Filipino/Chinese restaurant Chowking in Dar Al Salam mall in Abu Hamour after inspectors found rotten vegetables in its kitchens.

And an outlet of the Italian chain of eateries Vanellis in Muaither was also closed for 10 days by the MMUP for “violating the provisions of the food law.” Photographs posted on the ministry’s website and on Twitter show a takeaway bowl of pasta with insects inside of it.

Marmara Istanbul
Marmara Istanbul

The branch of another popular Turkish takeaway, Marmara Istanbul in Bin Omran, was closed down by the MMUP last month for up to two months after several residents were treated in the hospital for food poisoning symptoms including intense nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The MMUP has recently been taking a harder line on restaurants which breach Qatar’s food, upping the number of spot-checks and naming and shaming erring establishments in Arabic on its website.

In February, amendments to the food law gave greater powers to authorities to fine and close down venues that break the law.

The MMUP, in partnership with the relevant municipality, can order the temporary closure of a restaurant, cafe or food outlet if it has has violated food safety and hygiene regulations.

Thoughts?

19 COMMENTS

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Ahsin
Ahsin
6 years ago

What is the hotline number for the MMUP?

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Ahsin

6674 0948 and 6674 0951

Ahsin
Ahsin
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Thanks Michael, but those are the numbers for the SCH not MMUP (the Municipality).

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Ahsin

My bad. I found this online:

-so, the team of public awareness in the Ministry welcomes any suggestions or ideas that help to improve the subject by calling 44266666 or sending them via the following Email:halbeiroumi@mmaa.gov.qa. Law No. 8 of 1990 on the organization of food control

http://www.baladiya.gov.qa/cui/view.dox?id=923&siteID=2&contentID=1396

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago

Name and shame is an effective strategy to have these food providers on track, as long as laws are enforced without discrimination. I bet that HMC and other hospitals and clinics do keep a record for similar cases with food poison which will help a colaboration of both SHC and MMUP to track down food providers with bad records. These spot checks need to be consistent to maintain its efficiency.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  DJ25Q

the naming is only on the Baladyia’s page and only in Arabic…..so for those who can’t read Arabic, can’t have a clue of the names of places being shamed!

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  fullmoon07

Arabic is the official language here, “Baladiya” is Arabic for Municipality.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago

It is indeed, but should it be the only one? A good conversation to have. Good luck surviving in Qatar with only Arabic, it must be tough for those with only that one language. Realistically though, there must be someone out there translating into other languages?

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

that Baladiya means Municipality I know; speak some Arabic…..however the shaming and naming it does not reach everyone, which was the purpose of such an action

Faiz
Faiz
6 years ago
Reply to  DJ25Q

This isn’t a one off articles posted to enhance the name of SCH nor do I spot political agenda. If you look at it in a broader approach, you can notice the absolute brilliance of a job being carried out By the locals. As an Islamic represtative country, they completly represent the common man regardless of background. Yes, you may argue with snippets and stories of cases of discrimination encountered by general public. Ask yourself about how many nations in the world have a medical service alike hamad hospital with the respect and value of human life.
The SCH had set up guidelines and revised it recently to incorporate the common man with utmost importance. It gave the outlets time to rectify their Non – compliance of laws, and once their clock ran out of time the SCH started busting down doors. If you’re a regular news reader then ask yourself about the time gap between the first few closures and the response time it took for SCH to establish a hotline for complaints, visit to patient, Raiding and sampling the food in high tech laboratories to pass verdict… My friend… If we could make better laws, why don’t we send them an email. .. I’m sure they are recruiting considering the number of shawarma shops here. Cheers

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

Another pix of MIMH…. This time on a Saturday morning …

Sorry man I know you can take a joke

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Nah not me, I can hold my booze. I can go toe to toe with even some of the most hardened Qatari drinkers……

However when I first saw the pic I did think of over boozing not food poisoning!

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

Vanellis is a Canadian chain

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

This is why I only buy my meat from QDC and cook myself.

Ali
Ali
6 years ago

Shawarma 2.0

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

Eeek. What shawarma place is this? So I never go there by mistake

BigDaddyDK
BigDaddyDK
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

I’ve had numerous conversations on the variety of exotic flavors that can be had in Doha. Didn’t quite have this in mind.

BigDaddyDK
BigDaddyDK
6 years ago

I don’t know about the article, but the stock photo of the dude hugging the porcelain got me laughing. Hope he doesn’t have a double-ender happening.

BigDaddyDK
BigDaddyDK
6 years ago

Several years ago, I remember seeing a sign on Turkey Central on Al Mirqab saying it had been closed by the SCH. They opened up about two doors down under the name Turkey Center Restaurant. Same stuff, different location.

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