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Monday, July 26, 2021

Baladiya considers distributing names of food violators more widely

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Health violations

The idea of making names of eateries that flout health regulations more widely known by publishing them in local newspapers is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP), an official has said.

Under Qatar’s recently updated food law, the MMUP is now allowed to name and shame eateries on its website. But many residents have complained that the list is difficult to find, and excludes non-Arabic speakers.

In response to public pressure to make it easier to know which restaurants, cafes and food shops have broken health and safety laws, an MMUP spokesman said changes are being considered.

According to the Peninsula, MMUP spokesman Umer Al Yafei acknowledged that the ministry is restricted in how it can share the names of erring outlets, but added that media outlets were welcome to disseminate the information based on what was published on Baladiya’s official site.

So far, MMUP has only been posted that information in Arabic, although basic details are sometimes shared in English on a Twitter account that said it is affiliated with the government.

Food law

Qatar’s food law was tightened earlier this year to include tougher penalties for those who violate safety regulations.

Under Law No. 4 of 2014, jail time of up to one year and fines of up to QR15,000 can be levied against anyone found selling expired food or food that is unsuitable or harmful for human consumption.

In addition to empowering Baladiya to name restaurants and cafes on its website, changes to Law No. 8 of 1990 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
  • A statement that the “violator” – presumably, the outlet’s owner – must bear the cost of the closure of the restaurant.

The law also gives officials at the Ministry of Environment the power to close food outlets for the first time. Previously, this could only be done by the MMUP and the Supreme Council of Health.

Moldy food

In April, a small bakery in Al Wakrah was the first eatery to be named on Baladiya’s website for selling expired food.

According to Baladiya’s website, at least 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.

Meanwhile, the MMUP has been collaborating with the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Economy and Trade to do spot-checks and raids on cafes, restaurants and food shops, particularly in the run-up to and during Ramadan, when many people are preparing special meals for family, friends and neighbors to celebrate the end of fasting.

Public complaints

The ministry also uses Twitter to encourage people to report their own complaints from eateries:

Al Yafei is reported to have said that photos, tweets and messages from the public are often the starting point of an investigation into an eating establishment.

Thoughts?

15 COMMENTS

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DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago

The more information that is given to the public, the better.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

Maybe they could name the company and the sponsor. Then you would see things change quickly.

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The sponsor? Not his fault he just signed a couple of documents and collects 51 percent each month whilst sitting back smoking shisha

Doubt he even remembers which places he sponsors until hungry then orders free food.

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

It should include the names of all the people allowed to sign for the company. 🙂

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

No I don’t agree, it should be the owners who are named both expat and local. They are the people that authorise others to sign on behalf of the company and it is easy to make them the scapegoats. The buck stops with the owners.

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

LOL.

I know about some companies, 100% Qatari owned on paper, the real owner (a non-Qatari tax evader) pays the Qatari “sponsor” a few thousand riyals monthly. The Qatari “owner” here is just renting his name.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

And there is the problem….

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
7 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

So who’s fault is that? Who should be held liable?

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
7 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu

Some companies are legally a person, so the owners are shielded from liability.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_personality

The company should be held liable. The company has management.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
7 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

“Some” being the keyword. I doubt any of these small to mid-size eateries are registered under Qatar accordingly. The owners are liable in most cases and 51% of the ownership entitles to atleast 51% of the blame as well.

Restie
Restie
7 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

This is the risk the sponsor takes and should be made aware of this by the commercial authorities.

Some people are aware of this and make sure they take a mindful view of what their liabilities are, but some people prefer the easy cash without oversight and then blame the expat when things go belly up or alleged fraud occurs.

In reality, the sponsors that have awareness of what businesses are under their name are better business people and care more about their risk spread and the quality of their services.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
7 years ago
Reply to  Restie

You’ll have all the West quivering in their boots, that’s exactly why companies are formed and become a legal entity in themselves, to shield individuals from responsability.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

Not quite true, there is such a thing as corporate negilience and many compay bosses in the US especially have gone to jail for crimes such as manslaughter and financial. Remember ENRON, how many of the top men are in jail? Quite a few. Where is the owner of Villagio and the Nursey? One is in his villa eating lobster and the ofther is in Belgium representing Qatar.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Yes employees including managers, even Board members in the company can and do face prosecution, but vary rarely the actual owners of the company. In fact it’s more common for the owners to prosecute management employees for incompetence. The owners are kept at “arms length”, they employee people like managers, CEO, CAO and Boards to “take the fall” in case of bad times. Most Western Boards are like described in other posts, they take a salary for showing up for a Board meeting once a month, have a free lunch, then next day off to the next Board meeting in another company. In my experience attending a lot of these meetings it’s almost “rent a Board Member”. The actual owners of a company sometimes can be hard to work out and convoluted because they are not involved day to day. Ask most employees who owns their company (as opposed to who manages their company) and I think most would struggle.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago

Can someone please explain to me the definitions of “unsuitable for human consumption” and “harmful for human consumption”? It obviously doesn’t mean rotten or damaged since that is a different offense… just curious.

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