Under Qatar’s new stricter food law, eateries that flout safety rules not only face fines and closures, but also potential imprisonment if they are found guilty of serving rotten or expired goods.
Law No. 4 of 2014 was approved in February, but more details about its provisions became available in a Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning circular that was issued this week.
According to that bulletin, the penalties are:
- Six months jail time, and/or fines of up to QR15,000 for anyone found dealing in expired food;
- Six months to one year, and/or fines of up to QR15,000 for selling food unsuitable for human consumption;
- One to two years in jail and/or fines of up to QR30,000 for selling food that is harmful for human consumption;
- Two to four years in jail and/or fines of up to QR30,000 for selling rotten or unsuitable food that causes permanent disability to a person; and
- Four to eight years in jail and/or a fine of up to QR60,000 for selling rotten or unsuitable food that causes the death of a person.
Laboratory testing could be conducted to classify the food as either rotten, damaged or unsuitable for human consumption, the MMUP added.
Other punishments previously explained when the law passed in February include an initial 60-day closure for violations – twice the previous limit of 30 days for a first offense; a reduction in the length of time to appeal, down from 15 days to 10; and the naming and shaming of the outlet on a government website.
More information about the law and its provisions can be read below: