More than 17 tons of fruit, vegetables and meat have been destroyed in the past week after being found to be unfit for human consumption, Qatar authorities said.
The mountain of condemned food is equivalent to the weight of more than 10 fully-loaded Toyota Land Cruisers.
During spot-checks at the Central Market yesterday, food inspectors from the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) ordered the destruction of 7.8 tons of fruit, 1.9 tons of vegetables and one ton of meat and fish that appeared damaged, rotten and unsuitable for eating, the ministry announced on its website.
The MME said yesterday on Twitter that its teams had destroyed a total of 17.5 tons of out-of-date or rotten food over the past weekend.
The ministry has not yet responded to requests for information about how the condemned food is disposed of.
Meanwhile, employees at a food warehouse in the Industrial Area have been censured by inspectors after they were found tampering with the expiry dates of frozen meat and fish.
In cooperation with the Internal Security Force (Lekhiwya), ministry officials raided the storage facilities of a trading company that has not been named.
They found that the frozen foods were been re-packaged and their expiry dates changed. They were also stored in unhygienic conditions, the MME said in a statement this week.
The violations have been passed to the appropriate authorities for legal action, the ministry added.
This follows a similar action by the government food inspectors last week, after they found workers at two separate food warehouses had been changing the expiry dates on hundreds of kilos of Australian meat, which was due to be sold in the Industrial Area.
The ministry officials apprehended the employees and seized 250kg of Australian meat that was being sold on to grocery stores, the MME said at the time.
Meanwhile, inspectors also seized a truck that was parked in the Industrial Area which had been illegally fitted out as a mobile grocery store.
A photo posted on the ministry’s website shows the container of the truck kitted out with fridges and freezers, and selling fruit and vegetables, chilled drinks and packaged foods and toiletries.
The MME is one of the official bodies in Qatar charged with enforcing the country’s food law, which was updated in February 2014 to grant them more power to punish outlets that store and sell food unfit for human consumption.
This has allowed the ministry to name and shame erring establishments, although only in Arabic and only on its website. It also added harsher penalties for restaurants and food outlets breaching health and hygiene regulations.