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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Two dozen shops in City Center mall fined after impromptu inspections

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Twenty-five stores in City Center Mall were fined last week by government inspectors for breaking various commercial laws.

Inspectors from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce’s Department of Commercial Registration and Licenses and the Consumer Protection Department carried out unannounced inspections of several shops at the mall on June 17, issuing 25 violation notices.

These included penalties for not having a license, or for not renewing an old one, as well as for displaying goods outside shops without permission.

It’s not clear what penalties were imposed, but violators can be fined up to QR10,000 for breaking commercial laws. The names of the shops caught breaking these rules have not been disclosed.

The Ministry of Economy and Commerce said these raids on commercial premises were only the first wave of a campaign which this week is focusing on butcher’s shops, with one violation being reported so far.

Restaurant violations

It’s not clear why City Center Mall was chosen as a venue for the raid, or whether other malls were also targeted in last week’s inspection push.

However, it’s not the first time in recent weeks that the mall has been the focus of government scrutiny.

Last Wednesday, for example, the Peninsula reported that inspection teams had also found that many restaurants and cafes in the mall didn’t have the proper licenses, or had been found to be violating food and safety hygiene rules.

Some outlets in the mall were closed briefly, but allowed to re-open later on the same day.

Speaking to Doha News, City Center Mall Director Joerg Harengerd said that inspections at the mall were “ongoing” due to the shopping center’s refurbishment program and renewal of its Civil Defense license.

He told us that while some restaurants were found to be trading on expired licenses, they have been given a grace period to renew them before being fined.  All restaurants in the mall are now open, he said.

Naming and shaming

This spate of inspections on shops follows a deliberate move by the government to publicize its crackdown on health and safety at restaurants, publicly naming and shaming violators for the first time.

Moldy food

For the past two months, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) has been listing the names of violators in Arabic on its website.

There, it provides full details of each restaurant closure, as well as sharing photos of dirty kitchens and expired food.

According to the website, eight restaurants have been closed temporarily in Qatar so far this month, including a Cafe Vergnano in Al Maamoura, which was shut down for 10 days.

The restaurant was found to have food that was not fit for human consumption.

The listings are not yet available in English.

Thoughts?

Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that Cafe Vergnano was closed for the food it was serving. It previously erroneously stated that the restaurant did not have a valid business license.

19 COMMENTS

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MN
MN
6 years ago

Two rules i follow in Qatar (given that I fancy hygiene):
– Groceries shopping only from “large surfaces”, ex: Carrefour, Megamart, Family Food
– Never entering “neighborhood” eateries, or having coffee shop meals. I was also disappointed to see that several franchises (that also exist in my own country) are very low quality here.

Carolyn Conravey Walsh Levy
Carolyn Conravey Walsh Levy
6 years ago
Reply to  MN

I used to be a Health Inspector in America–if you think these tactics will keep you safe, you are sadly mistaken. I love the little mom and pop grocery round the corner from me and have no qualms about getting produce from there. My absolute favorite restaurant is also a “dive” in a speck of a neighborhood strip center with no seating. I’ll take their food over a 5 star restaurant in a hotel any day!

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  MN

I have seen the grocery section of Carrefour shut down for violation as well. Even the big guys here are not upto standard unfortunately

٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
6 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu
Saffa
Saffa
6 years ago
Reply to  MN

I’ve had some very good meals here in little “holes in the wall” eateries. As long as its full and turn-over is decent, unlikely to pick up a serious bug.

I’ve eaten street foot in Asia, Europe, Southern Africa, North Africa etc. and not been sick. Your two rules just mean you miss out on a lot of local flavour.

Remember, even The Fat Duck (Heston Blumethal’s restaurant in Bray, UK) made people sick one time. Due to an ill member of staff if I recall correctly. Noma (the world’s best restaurant) gave 60 to 70 people food poisoning once too. If it’s going to happen, it’ll happen.

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  Saffa

“I’ve eaten street foot”… I really hope is a mistype and you didn’t eat some feet found on the street 🙂

Saffa
Saffa
6 years ago
Reply to  sicti

DYAC… 😉

Gocool
Gocool
6 years ago

I hope the inspection will held in Industrial Area also.

RaZam
RaZam
6 years ago

I am surprised that Doha News have not taken the initiative to translate the names and addresses of violating establishments that have been identified in Arabic on the MMUP website. This would be doing the general public a more useful service than reporting about Qatar 2022 investigations.

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  RaZam

http://www.baladiya.gov.qa/cui/view.dox?id=1360&siteID=1

Some are easy to translate, but how do you translate the name of an establishment? Especially difficult when they try to be creative by writing a non-Arabic word in Arabic.

فيرينيانو could be: Fereiiaio, Vereniano, Ferineanu
لمزاني = Lamazani? Lemasane? What???
المتوسط = Al-Mutawasit? Mediterranean? Almutawasset?

How did they spell it on their sign?

RaZam
RaZam
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Presumably, in the same manner that they could identify “Cafe Vergnano in Al Maamoura”. In my humble opinion, if they are professional enough, they can get more details from the MMUP, go and take pictures of these establishments so that the public could be better informed and avoid these places.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Either I need to improve my Arabic, or I should avoid a lot of places in Al Khor?

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Looks like the inspectors there are very active…

reddevil
reddevil
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

2nd one is LAMZANIA,been there!!

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Love how “فيرينيانو” is missing a “ج”. hehehe

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  Ms. Hala

The g in gn is silent… If it’s an Italian word. 😉

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Trying to teach myself Italian hasn’t worked well… I only know one sentence and about 3 words thus far… hehehe

Thanks for the tip Osama! =)

Ms. Hala
6 years ago

Rule of thumb, if the place doesn’t look clean, turn around and walk away. I don’t care how many stars it has or lacks, if it’s nasty and your gut is screaming, “get out NOW”, follow your gut. PERIOD.

Gareth Walters
Gareth Walters
6 years ago

This is surely an issue that should be taken up with City Center management. they are the landlords and should have control over their ship. they should know what is going on and should be on top of their stores making sure that all licences etc. are in place.

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