Authorities took legal action against a major corporation for committing several violations that threatened the safety of customers across Qatar.
Qatar’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry prosecuted a major importer and distributor of food products in the country for “manipulating the country of origin for vegetables, fruits and meat, and selling rotten fruits unfit for human use, as well as selling expired products.”
The ministry said it took action after receiving information that a major trading company in the country has been committing various violations, it announced on Monday.
The fined company was described as a major corporation and a main importer and distributor of vegetables, fruits and meat as well as a number of its subsidiaries across Qatar.
However, the ministry did not name the company involved.
The move was coordinated between the ministry, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Municipality.
Authorities conducted uninformed inspections at different branches, in which a number of violations were detected.
This came as part of efforts by authorities to monitor markets, commercial activities, prices, violations as well as fake and counterfeit goods that do not meet the standards in a bid to protect consumers’ rights.
The unidentified company was caught selling vegetables and fruits with a false country of origin, such as listing Australian meat as of Arab origin, in order to illegally increase prices, as well as displaying expired products.
The company had already reportedly been issued with a warning to get rid of all food products that are considered rotten and unfit for human consumption but instead repackaged its outdated products and displayed them on its shelves as new.
According to MOIC, this act violates Qatari law on consumer protection under Suppliers’ Obligations, which states:“No defective or adulterated commodity shall be sold, displayed, presented, promoted or advertised. The commodity shall be deemed to be adulterated or defective where it does not conform to the prescribed standard specifications, is unfit for use, or has expired.”
The law also stipulates “where a supplier displays any commodity for trading, he shall clearly indicate on the packaging or container the type, nature, ingredients and other information relating to the commodity in the manner specified in the executive by law hereof.
“Where the use of the commodity involves a certain risk, the consumer shall be clearly warned against such risk. The supplier shall be prohibited from describing, advertising or displaying the commodity in a manner that involves false or deceptive information.”
Violating such laws has penalties that could lead to administrative closure or financial fines ranging from three thousand to one million Qatari riyals.
“In this regard, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry confirms that it is in the process of completing the rest of the legal procedures against the violating company, and that it will firmly confront anyone who fails to fulfill his obligations stipulated in Law No. 8 of 2008 regarding consumer protection and its executive regulations, and will work to intensify its inspection campaigns to control the violating practices,” a statement read.
The ministry also warned “it will refer anyone who violates the laws and ministerial decisions to the competent authorities to take the appropriate measures, in order to protect the rights of consumers.”
Authorities have now urged citizens and residents of Qatar to report any violations or abuses via the ministry’s communication services listed on its official website.