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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Qatar’s Cabinet approves changes to food and littering laws

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

Restaurants, grocery stores and other outlets that are closed for flouting the food law may soon face further naming and shaming.

During its regular meeting yesterday, the Cabinet approved an amendment to the food law that would require closed-down establishments to pay for notices in two local newspapers “with a large circulation.”

According to QNA, the new provision would also empower any government authority that issued the closure decision to publish the news on its website.

Ministry inspectors at a food store in August
Ministry inspectors at a food store in August

Currently, only the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) is allowed to name and shame erring establishments online.

However, the Ministry of Public Health also has the authority to close restaurants and others businesses that violate the food law.

The amendment comes as officials are stepping up inspections of food establishments in Qatar.

In the first half of 2016 alone, Baladiya officials shut down 92 outlets and imposed fines of more than QR1.3 million on erring outlets.

Littering

Also yesterday, the Cabinet approved a draft law about keeping public areas clean.

According to QNA, the legislation prohibits littering in any public area, even if it was privately owned.

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

This includes rooftops, balconies, sidewalks, alleys, beaches and other venues, as determined by the municipality.

However, this provision is already mentioned in Qatar’s existing Law No. 8 of 1974 on Public Hygiene.

That said, the new draft law also mentions recycling for the first time. It says the municipality has the sole authority to recycle and/or treat garbage via one or more contractors.

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