Photographs courtesy of MMUP
A number of restaurants in Doha have been temporarily closed by the authorities in recent days after they were found to be selling food made of moldy ingredients and bug-infested meals.
Just before the weekend, a branch of the popular Filipino/Chinese restaurant Chowking in Dar Al Salam mall in Abu Hamour was ordered to shut for 10 days by the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) after inspectors found rotten vegetables in its kitchens.
And an outlet of the Italian chain of eateries Vanellis in Muaither has also been closed for 10 days by the MMUP for “violating the provisions of the food law.” Photographs posted on the ministry’s website and on Twitter show a takeaway bowl of pasta with insects inside it.
Meanwhile, a family of four was taken to hospital after getting food poisoning from eating a meal of chicken, rice and salad from an unnamed restaurant on Commercial Street in the Old Airport area, the Peninsula reports.
Soon after eating the food, the restaurant customers began to feel ill and were taken by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital’s emergency department, where they were treated for vomiting, diarrhea and mild fever.
Doctors treating the patients said they had also dealt with four other patients suffering from food poisoning who had recently eaten at the same restaurant, the newspaper added.
In February this year, amendments to the food law gave greater powers to authorities to fine and close down venues that break the law.
The MMUP, in partnership with the relevant municipality, can order the temporary closure of a restaurant, cafe or food outlet if it has has violated food safety and hygiene regulations.
In recent months, the ministry appears to have increased the number of spot checks and inspections it undertakes in a bid to crack down on erring establishments.
It has also started naming and shaming them on its website, while on Twitter, it publishes photographs of restaurants it has closed (although it does not name them there).
Last month, a branch of the popular Turkish fast-food restaurant Marmara Istanbul was ordered to close for up to two months after several customers reportedly suffered food poisoning from eating there.
After eating at the Bin Omran outlet near TV roundabout, a woman who was seven months pregnant started suffering stomach pains and was rushed to hospital, where she prematurely gave birth to her baby.
Others reported suffering food poisoning symptoms including intense nausea and diarrhea, which required hospital treatment.
Images posted online by the MMUP showed moldy chopping boards, unclean worktops, BBQ grills blackened with caked-on food deposits and food lying around the surfaces.
— Baladiya (@Baladiya1) November 20, 2014
Those who wish to report a restaurant or food shop they believe has violated the food laws can send a Twitter message to the MMUP (@albaladiya), with their contact number and the name of the establishment. Customers are also asked to keep a sample of the food and the receipt.