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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Qatar tightens food standards with new training for inspectors

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

Qatar’s food inspectors, who are responsible for carrying out safety checks at the country’s cafes, restaurants and grocery stores, are expected to be trained so that all eateries are held to a unified standard.

The course comes at a time when Qatar is implementing stricter penalties for eateries found violating food safety rules. It will be carried out later this year in two phases of several months each, and is aimed at inspectors from both the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) and the country’s different municipalities.

A combined total of 250 out of the nation’s 300 inspectors are expected to undergo the “Risk Based Food Safety and Inspection Skills” training, which will be carried out by British food technology company Campden BRI.

The course teaches methods used in centers of excellence worldwide, equipping the country’s inspectors with “the highest international standards,” Dr. Sheikh Mohamed al-Thani, head of the National Committee for Food Safety, told journalists this week.

Tougher laws

Qatar has recently passed new, stricter amendments to its food law, which include longer closures, higher fines and potential jail time for offending outlets.

The government is also preparing to introduce public naming and shaming of food safety law violators on the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning website – something which has been suggested for years, but not consistently applied.

It’s likely that this is due to a reluctance in Qatar to publicly identify people in trouble with the law – a cultural norm adhered to by many of the country’s media outlets.

Speaking to journalists yesterday, Wasan Al Baker, Food Safety and Environment Health Manager at the SCH, acknowledged that the new policy would have to be enforced sensitively:

“We have to be very careful when we announce names (of outlets). We are accusing people in front of others. So we have to be careful and inspectors should know how to categorise the risks (associated with food) and the violations.”

The inspectors are expected to conclude the additional training in November.

Thoughts?

16 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

I’m curious are the inspectors Qataris or expats? If expats then what standards are they following? It would not make sense to me a Pakistani National reviewing the quality and health of a Japanese restuarant or a Indonesian National inspecting a French restuarant. I could imagine the conversation. “we are shutting down your establishment beacuse your bread is out of date. I don’t care if you call it croutons, it is still stale bread’

sadam
sadam
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

c’mon, they prolly ain’t all that stupid (local / expat)

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

you dont have to be Japanese to review the health standards of a Japanese restaurant. i assume they receive training in all kinds of international cuisine

sadam
sadam
7 years ago

i assume everyone knows that inspections are fruitless and irrelevant for Japanese restaurants, just by sheer discipline Japan’s attitude towards food quality,safety & hygiene standards are high. Maybe the State is trying to emulate the same?

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
7 years ago
Reply to  sadam

Japanese was just an example, but don’t assume a place is safe cus of its cousine type. just last month my little brother and his friends got parasites from eating in sushi minto a Japanese place on salwa road. they ended up puking and pooping there insides out for a week and needed to be hospitalised

sadam
sadam
7 years ago

ugh. thanks i won’t bother trying out that place.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  sadam

Yeah, everytime I eat in Sakura or Oushi Sushi I am struck by how many Japanese nationals work there…..

Tracie
Tracie
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Stale bread is not a health issue. They aren’t checking quality necessarily but hygiene which is standard. How surfaces are washed, how meat is acquired and prepared, refrigeration procedures etc etc. Has nothing to do with nationality or style of food.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  Tracie

*sigh*

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago

Train the traffic police to police whilst your at it will you please?

sadam
sadam
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

to do what exactly? taste test ? aha

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago
Reply to  sadam

To police traffic law, they can taste test a Shwarma on their lunch break which should be a meal at post.

Guest
Guest
7 years ago

“Photo for illustrative purposes only”

I don’t know what it means but I tried eating it…

BBCA
BBCA
7 years ago

This is a very good move.

Martin
Martin
7 years ago

Interesting move as training more building inspectors in the first instance would save more lives in the long term as you can’t easily go back in 7 years and undo an illegally built building

foci smooth
foci smooth
7 years ago

SCH shall know about the HACCP first before imposing food standards into their country.

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