Food laws tightened; eateries to face 60 days closure for violations
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued the Law No. 4 of 2014 that ensures stricter action against violating food outlets including a 60 day closure.
As per the new law, “The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning” and “The Supreme Council of Health” will now be called “The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture” and “The Ministry of General Health” respectively.
According to a Gulf Times report, Articles 19 and 32 of Law No 8 of 1990 shall be amended to state the below:
- Article 19- “The employees of the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, the Supreme Council of Health and Qatar General Organisation for Standards and Specifications who are authorised to make judicial seizures based on a decision issued by the Attorney General and as agreed with the competent Minister, may seize and prove the crimes which are committed in violation of the provisions of this law and its implementing decisions.”
- Article 32- “Without prejudice to the punishments specified in this Law, the place/store where a violation is committed may be closed by a decision issued by the director of the concerned municipality, the director of the concerned department of the Supreme Council of Health and the director of the concerned department of Qatar General Organisation for Standards and Specifications. The closure shall be for a period of not more than 60 days.
“In all cases, the administrative closure shall be for the whole store/place if its condition does not allow closure of the part where the violation was committed. The violator is obligated to pay the closure expenses. A sign shall be placed in the front of the store/place mentioning that it is closed for violation of the law for regulation of human food. The closure decision shall be published in the website of the authority that issued the closure decision.”
Prior to the new law, food outlets in breach remained closed for just 30 days. Also, violators are now granted only a 10-day period to raise a petition against the closure to the Minister of Municipality, the Minister of General Health or the Minister of Environment. However, if there is no response within 10 days, that means the complaint has been rejected, the law states.
JustHere spoke to Mohammed Ahmed Yousef Alsayed, Head of Health Control Section in Doha Municipality who said that the penalty that outlets have to pay range from QR7,500 to QR15,000 based on the nature of violation.
In an earlier JustHere article, Majid B. Zaidan, Senior Food Inspection Supervisor & Chief Inspection Unit officer at Rayyan Municipality, said there were certain regulations for eateries, the violation of which, outlets could be booked, and fined (QR100 for each):
- Shop to be built with appropriate building material.
- Floor tiles to be made out of solid or concrete material that do not absorb liquids.
- Sufficient working area complying with activities carried out in the license.
- Provide adequate water supply.
- Water tanks made of safe material and tightly closed and to be cleaned regularly.
- Tools and equipment and any other supplies to be cleaned, sterilised and in good sanitary condition.
- Provide means of combating insects and rodents.
- Shop not to be occupied for housing.
“The most serious violation that can close a restaurant is poor quality of food. Restaurants are prohibited to use expired food products or products that are unfit for human consumption,” he had said.
[Photo courtesy: John Ray Dichoso, image used for illustrative purpose only]