Several prominent eateries in Qatar have been temporarily closed by authorities this month, after authorities reported finding rotten or expired food in their kitchens.
This week, a branch of the famous dessert shop Gelato Mondo, located on Najma street in the Al Hilal area, was shut down for 15 days for having “spoiled food,” the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) said on its website.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the ministry added that the food at the ice cream store “violated specification standards and was unfit (for human consumption) after its natural characteristics changed.”
Speaking to Doha News, a manager at Gelato Mondo, which also has a City Center mall kiosk across from Carrefour, said that an employee left a pack of rotten strawberries in the refrigerator in the shop that was found by MMUP inspectors.
He said that the strawberries weren’t being used as a gelato topping or in the desserts, and that the staff had intended to throw them away.
Others shut down
The MMUP has shut several popular eateries temporarily in the past few weeks, including a branch of Yellow cab pizza in Dar Al Salam mall, which was closed for 15 days for selling “expired food.”
According to a picture on the ministry’s website, the restaurant had garlic powder that expired in July of this year in its kitchen, in addition to other expired ingredients.
On Nov. 4, the MMUP also closed Lebanese restaurant Al Tabkha at the Pearl-Qatar for 30 days for having “expired food” in its kitchen.
Meanwhile, the popular Chowking restaurant in Dar Al Salam mall was shut down for 14 days for preparing food under “unsanitary circumstances,” according to MMUP’s website.
This is not the first time that branch of the Filipino/Chinese restaurant has been in trouble.
Other less prominent restaurants that were temporarily in recent days include Bangs Fried Chicken in Al Sadd, which was shut down for ten days, and Niece restaurant and Juice shop in Al Mansoura/Fereej Bin Dirham, which was shut for the maximum allowable time of 60 days.
The reason behind their closure was “preparing food under unsanitary circumstances” and selling food “unfit for human consumption,” according to MMUP’s statement.
This week, MMUP also cracked down on produce sold at the Central Market, where around nine tons of fruit deemed “unfit for human consumption” were seized by the food control unit, the ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page.
It added that some of the fruits’ properties were intact in terms of color, appearance and odor. However, a more thorough inspection revealed that many items were actually inedible.
For example, black spots were found inside the plums, peaches and nectarines, while the inside of the watermelon had blemishes and was very soft.
The destroyed produced included 400 watermelons from Lebanon, 567 boxes of Turkish plums, 1,190 boxes of Syrian peaches and 1,200 boxes of Syrian nectarines, according to the statement.
In recent years, the Baladiya has been cracking down on eateries that flout food regulations.
While residents were initially skeptical about whether all restaurants would receive fair treatment, the ministry does seem to be closing all types of food outlets.
In September, several prominent eateries were temporarily shut down for sanitary reasons, including a Pizza Hut branch in Umm Salal and part of the Orient Pearl.
A part of the large four-star rated restaurant on the Corniche was closed after videos were circulated online of stray cats roaming around in the restaurant’s shawarma and fast food kitchen, located outside the main restaurant.
Residents who believe they have suffered food poisoning from a restaurant can report their cases to the Supreme Council of Health hotline at 6674 0948 and 6674 0951.