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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Qatar Diplomatic Club, Millennium Hotel partly closed for food violations

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) has sanctioned two high-end restaurants in Al Sadd and the West Bay Lagoon for serving food that apparently passed its expiration date.

The closures were posted on MMUP’s website in Arabic, but did not specify which eateries at the venues were affected.

Le Grill
Le Grill

However, staff at the Diplomatic Club told Doha News that Le Grill was ordered shut for 10 days, as of May 4.

Also on Monday, the Millennium Hotel was told to partly close for 15 days for also serving expired food.

An employee there said the hotel’s Atrium Cafe, which serves coffee, pastries and other snacks, will be shut for the next two weeks.

Expanded mandate

The closures come as the MMUP seeks to increase the number of spot checks and inspections it undertakes to catch any potential food violations.

Amendments were made to the food law last February that gave authorities more power to punish venues that serve meals deemed unfit for human consumption.

At that time, the ministry was also given the legal ability to name and shame closed restaurants, albeit only on its website.

Though skepticism was expressed about whether high-profile businesses would be sanctioned publicly, this week’s closures appear to indicate that officials are not playing favorites.

Food poisoning

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

As the weather heats up, incidences of food poisoning become more common in Qatar.

Health officials have previously advised residents to ensure that their food is stored properly, prepared in a hygienic environment and cooked thoroughly before consuming.

To improve safety standards in restaurants, the Supreme Council of Health also launched a hotline late last year for residents to report food poisoning cases.

The mobile numbers are 6674 0948 and 6674 0951.

Once a report is filed, a team from the SCH promises to visit the affected people, then inspect the related food outlet and collect samples for laboratory examination.

Thoughts?

11 COMMENTS

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Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

Lovely.

Hen
Hen
6 years ago

Heil MMUP!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Another good thing in Qatar, a government dept taking its job seriously.

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago

Agree.. MMUP is one department which takes on even the mighty ones and shuts down outlets in case of quality violations. .Kudos.

terracotta
terracotta
6 years ago

well done MMUP

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago

I always thought that this bigger and fancier places needed to be checked more often as they seem to be under the impression that their procedures and practices are better then the rest. With the onset of summer and the hot and humid weather more of this places need to be inspected and checked more often for expired food items, beverages, etc. Bottled drinks past their expiry dates can be a serious health hazard. Just wondering when they had a inspection at the QDC and other such places

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

The ‘Bigger and fancier’ places as you put it are normally the ones that have better trained staff, better equipped kitchens, follow established international hygiene practices and still have to deal with unpredictable visits, inconsistent enforcement and overzealous inspectors. If you open a jar of mustard, do you use it the same day, no. Commercial establishments have to or else are fined if they keep it, irrelevant of quantity or possibility it can be used the next day. That’s a simple example. Expired items a day old are not going to kill any of us. a little common sense would go a long way. For example, Carbonated drinks can easily last 3 months after their expiration date. It’s only when the sweetener starts to break down does the product begin to be affected. It’s good to do your own homework on this subject to make your own personal choice. As for QDC, it’s probably inspected more than any other building in the city!!!

sadam
sadam
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

in other words. Best Consumed before the following date,,,,,, also bottled waters has expiration date not for the water,, the expiration date is for the bottle

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  sadam

In other ‘other’ words then, to make it clearer, best consumed does not mean ‘must’ be consumed. As for expiration of the bottle, you will find that will not ‘expire’ for several hundred years………

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Can the MMUP train the traffic police in taking action against violations of law? Or given the obesity rate of Qataris is food more important then dying…priorities?

RoughRock
RoughRock
6 years ago

No Doubt that MMUP is doing a good job on this. At the same time i feel that Baladiya is not working on defined parameters. Each Baladiya official act according to his understanding. What one official see as a violation is not a violation in the eyes of another official and vice versa. And once they take a decision, they dont change it, even if it is proved. Their decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

I will explain it with one incident to happen one of a reputed restaurant i know. it happened about 2 months back. One fine day the Baladiya official came and they took some cardamom from its stored pack. The broke the cardamom and found out a layer and presumed that it is fungus. Restaurant people told them that it is not fungus but a film kind of coating inside the cardamom by the nature to protect its seeds. Baladiya did not agreed to this point and ordered for 2 weeks to close. The restaurant took the same sample to government approved lab and got it confirmed that there is nothing wrong with cardamom. They went to Baladiya with the result and requested for permission to reopen before its scheduled date. Baladiya did not agreed to it and told, what we did is did dont try to challenge us. Now this restaurant face with frequent visits of Baladiya at least 2 times a week.

We all would like to have a better enforcement of laws and make sure that what we eat is actually food and not poison. At the same time, business units should not suffer, if they are not in breach of any rules.

Lack of specific rules make the Baladiya visits vulnerable and open opportunities for many things.

Defining of life of food products are also not standardized even across GCC. i have seen many products which has life over 2 years in UAE has life of only 1 year in Qatar. Fruit Juices are with 1 year shelf life in UAE but has only 9 months life in Qatar, for example.

How do we define the shelf life of a food product?

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