With reporting from Nada Badawi
Government officials in Qatar have temporarily shut at least seven food establishments in the past week.
The grocery shops and cafeterias have all been ordered to close from one week to two months.
They were found to have violated the country’s food laws by: selling food unfit for consumption, preparing them in unsanitary conditions or stocking expired products, the Ministry of Municipality and the Environment (MME) said.
Included on the list was a Sidra convenience store in Muaither that was partially shut on Sept. 22 for seven days for selling expired products.
Photographs on the Ministry’s website showed closure stickers on the shop’s beverage fridge, a fresh orange juice machine and soda dispenser.
Another local shop named Lulu Grocery (which is not related to the hypermarket chain) in Bin Omran was closed down for 60 days on Sept. 26 for storing food in unsanitary conditions.
On the same day, cafeteria Mohammed Sulthan, which serves Indian food and is also in Bin Omran, was shut for a month for the same reasons.
Meanwhile, Filipino eatery Inihaw Republik in Al Hilal was also closed for a month for unhygienic conditions.
Another convenience store, Sabrina supermarket in Al Mamoura, was found to be selling expired foods and was ordered to close on Sept. 27 for 10 days.
Two more establishments were shut down on the same day. Tea Madeena in Old Airport area, which inspectors said had unhygienic conditions, was closed for a week.
And an eatery in the Industrial Area (Seniary Cafeteria) was selling food that did not meet “standard specifications” and so was closed for 10 days from Sept. 27, the MME said on its website.
Qatar’s food inspectors have so far ordered the closure of at least 10 shops and eateries this month.
Most have been small, local establishments. Often, the ministry publishes graphic pictures on its website showing moldy food or filthy kitchens, but it has not done so for the latest closures.
In the first half of 2016, Baladiya officials shut down 92 outlets and imposed fines of more than QR1.3 million on establishments that flouted the food law.
Baladiya inspectors have the power to undertake unannounced checks on all establishments that prepare, store and sell food products across the country.