Effective Friday, April 25, Qatar will begin publicizing the names of eateries closed for violating food safety laws, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning has said.
On its English-language Twitter account this week, the MMUP said:
— Baladiya (@Baladiya1) April 17, 2014
The move comes as the country implements new, stricter amendments to its food law, which include longer closures, higher fines and potential jail time for offending outlets.
Qatar has been talking about naming and shaming eateries for years, but has not consistently followed through with previous plans.
This could be because doing so carries far-reaching implications for the country, where businesses and people in trouble with the law are not usually publicly identified.
Past promises aside, this is the first time the MMUP has set a deadline to name the outlets in question, on its website and at the eatery itself.
The idea has received a warm welcome from many residents, who have often expressed confusion and frustration after seeing their favorite restaurants and stores closed without explanation.
Last April for example, Spinney’s grocery store at the Pearl-Qatar was suddenly shut for a month due to health violations. In response to concerns, the chain’s CEO said on Facebook that this was due to inspectors finding a weevils in a packet of dry pasta.
Many residents said that the information helped them decide whether or not they wanted to continue shopping at the store.
Conversely, many businesses may not want residents to know what rules they were found flouting. Last fall, for example, IDAM, the Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Museum of Islamic Art, was closed for a month.
When reached by telephone, a staff member told Doha News at the time that the restaurant had a “technical problem in the kitchen, which has been rectified.”
Do you think naming and shaming is a good idea? Thoughts?