Qatar has introduced a ban on all foam packaging used to serve hot food and drinks, reports the Peninsula.
Foam packaging is non-biodegradable and research has shown that it can leak toxins into food, causing health problems.
From now on, foam packaging will only be allowed for the serving of cold food, and it must be clearly marked in both English and Arabic saying that it’s safe to use.
The announcement is the government’s latest attempt to curb the use of plastic and foam packaging in restaurants and takeaways.
In July of 2011, Qatar became one of the first countries in the region to require that all food packaging in restaurants and bakeries should be made from either paper or “food grade” plastic – plastic which doesn’t contain dyes or any other ingredients deemed harmful to humans.
Enforcing the law
Strict enforcement of that policy took effect last year. Now, all plastic or paper cups, plates and boxes used for serving hot food and drinks must also be clearly marked stating that they’re safe.
Toxic chemicals in plastic packaging can sometimes lead to diseases like cancer, hormone changes and liver problems.
The government requires paper cups and boxes used for hot food to pass a “heavy metal test” to show that they don’t contain harmful substances.
The Qatar Tribune reports that an apparent shortage of food grade packaging initially made it difficult for some outlets to comply, but this now appears to have eased, after 10 Qatar-based companies were given the go-ahead to produce it last summer.
The Joint Food Monitoring Committee at the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) has called on the public to report any food outlets they find breaking to law.
Credit: Photo by HaHaTango