Restaurants and food outlets that are caught breaching Qatar’s food safety laws could face harsher penalties if new legislation meets Emiri approval.
According to the Peninsula, government officials have been discussing changes to Law No. 8 of 1990 regarding the regulation of human food control. The amendments would include:
- Putting up a notice at the violating outlet citing the reason why it is being closed;
- Posting the name of the offending outlets with details of the violation on the Ministry’s website;
- Lengthening the amount of time a violating outlet could be closed, from up to 30 days to 60 days instead; and
- Shortening the amount of time outlets have to appeal closures, from 15 days to 10.
During its weekly meeting yesterday, the Advisory Council endorsed the amendments, which met Cabinet approval last September. The legislation would still require the Emir’s signature before taking effect.
Qatar has been taking about naming and shaming restaurants for years. In 2012, the Ministry of Economy and Trade said it would begin requiring outlets that had received a violation to pay for and publish the news in local Arabic language newspapers.
Despite the announcement, which was made by the Consumer Protection Department, the practice was not really followed. However, in November 2013, the CPD published its first advertisement identifying a violator in the New Salata area, for selling whitefish labeled as hammour.
But calls to hold companies more responsible have been growing, with the Central Municipal Council urging the government to require retailers who cheat customers to be warned, fined and publicly denounced.