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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Qatar health authority: Al Meera meat safe for consumption (updated)

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Al Meera Al Muaither branch
Al Meera Al Muaither branch

Updated on April 15 to reflect testing results found the meat is safe.

Beef from a branch of an Al Meera supermarket that had been tested by Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health (SCH) over claims that it was rotten has been found to be safe and fit for consumption, according to a statement issued by the supermarket chain.

Earlier this week, the SCH announced that it was testing samples following a customer complaint over the freshness of the meat.

The SCH sent inspectors to the Muaither branch of the chain, which opened last month, after it received comments and photographs on social media complaining about beef that had become gray in color.

On Twitter, the SCH advised in Arabic that a number of samples had been taken from several of the supermarket’s stores and were laboratory-tested.

The results of the tests showed that all the meat sold in Al Meera stores was safe, the supermarket said on Wednesday, April 15.

In a statement, Al Meera’s Deputy CEO Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Qahtani said:

“Al Meera Consumer Goods Company prioritizes the safety of its customers and is committed to have a designated staff engaged in supervising and monitoring food safety in compliance with the required regulations…

Food safety has always been a priority in all that we offer, to insure the wellbeing of our consumers and adhering to our commitment in offering the best quality and freshest items.”

Al Meera, which has 35 outlets in Qatar, said that meat can temporarily discolor when stacked together. However, this has no impact on the freshness of the meat and it changes back to normal once the meat has been opened and refrigerated.

In its earlier statement, the health council said that discoloration in meat is one of the indications that it has spoiled. Beef could go bad for a number of reasons, including not being kept cold enough or left outside of a refrigerator or freezer for a long time, the SCH said.

Speaking to Al Raya, an unnamed source from the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) was quoted as saying another reason for a change in meat color could be transportation at high temperature from the store to home.

Hygiene complaints

The SCH is one of a number of authorities empowered to investigate complaints about food hygiene, and can close food establishments if they are found to be selling tainted products.

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

Under the current law No. 8 of 1990 Regulation of Human Food Control, the SCH, MMUP and Ministry of Environment are jointly responsible for ensuring establishments comply with regulations.

In conjunction with the MMUP, the SCH is part of an ongoing campaign to take action against food establishments that flout health regulations.

In December, 85 cafes and shops in the Industrial Area were closed down by authorities for violating various health requirements.

At that time, the SCH announced it was planning to set up a single public authority that would be responsible for all aspects of food safety in the country – the Qatar Public Authority for Food Safety.

Thoughts?

14 COMMENTS

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Susan
Susan
6 years ago

Seems like this story would be better posted AFTER they got those test results back, and only if they found out the meat was tainted/rotten. By posting it now, you’re encouraging speculation and Al Meera will surely lose business over customer complaints that may or may not be proven true.

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago
Reply to  Susan

True enough, although the SCH has posted 3 very specific (albeit Arabic) tweets naming the store, and the Gulf Times has run this story on their front page as well.

If I was to criticize Doha News for any particular aspect of this story it would be the divergence between the first paragraph (testing meat sold at *a* branch of Al Meera supermarket) and the third paragraph (a number of samples have been taken from *several* of the supermarket’s stores).

Phoe
Phoe
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

The tweets in arabic first mention that samples were taken from the branch where they received the complaint and then from other branches.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
6 years ago
Reply to  Susan

Given how long bearacracy takes in Qatar, I would prefer to know now if there is a concern. What if someone went in tomorrow, bought meat and became ill or died?? “No no we couldn’t tell anyone the meat was poisonous until the 2 week tests were completed, report done, presented to superiors. Then we put out a press release. We are sorry for the 10 people who became gravely ill in the meantime”.

Random
Random
6 years ago

The Al Meera near my house in Al Hilal had its meat section closed for almost a month. So I’m not surprised this is happening.

Nomeat
Nomeat
6 years ago

Well, at monoprix they say that the coloured parts are from meat laying against each other on display… anyone knows if that is true? Must say that I have eaten beef at Al Meera that definitely was NOT beef. Camel? Horse? Tainted meat is happening all over Europe…

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago
Reply to  Nomeat

Colour change alone is due to oxidation and is no indication of fresh or rancid meat. Look out for slimy or malodorous meat, which is basically impossible when you are buying something that is tightly wrapped in cling film.

Minced meat will always present a colour variation between the meat on the surface and the meat not exposed to as much air owing to the large amount of surface area.

CLGourmet
CLGourmet
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Also an indication of freshness. If meat is ground, packaged, covered, and kept under constant refrigeration it will remain the same color throughout for 12 hours. If it is exposed to air for a prolonged period or under refrigerated oxidation will occur.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

Same experience with a different meera branh, however with chicken! The fridges in all meera don’t chill strong enough and staff tend to be very disinterested in their jobs

CLGourmet
CLGourmet
6 years ago

Frozen and refrigerated foods are seen sitting for many hours in Lulu’s, Spinney’s, and Carre Four. Ever buy ice or ice cream? It will always be re-frozen.

greg
greg
6 years ago
Reply to  CLGourmet

and those water droplets in all cheese. It is obvious that this is due to froze, un-froze, re froze

Mary Hutchins
Mary Hutchins
6 years ago

Gee whiz.. you only have to look at it – if it has a tinge of grey – not good (take it to the butcher and explain) or tinge of green – (DEFINITELY OFF -bad- and run away fast) or smelly through the plastic – might be TOXIC so evacuate the building! LOL!
I couldn’t tell you how many times I have mentioned to the grocery working boys at Megamart The Center about food – vegetables – that are OFF! Unfortunately I see food sitting in trolleys waiting to be sorted or placed into the fridges – if they are actually working properly – for way too long. Not to mention the meat sitting outside the fridges too and the milk and yoghurt. Carrefour does this often… really unsafe food handling – least of all it goes off so quickly when you get it home and then we still have to keep paying huge prices for the privilege! Woe is me.. poor ole Qatar just doesn’t ever seem to learn. 🙁

sadam
sadam
6 years ago
Reply to  Mary Hutchins

i like your profile pic 😀

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago

…..All’s well that ends well………..

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