Browsing 'food' News

Pixabay

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A new QR1.6 billion food-processing and storage facility will be built near Hamad Port to shore up Qatar’s food supplies, officials have announced.

For the first time, raw sugar, rice and cooking oil will be processed inside of Qatar, transport minister Jassim bin Saif Al-Sulaiti said yesterday, according to Bloomberg.

Previously, many of these commodities were only packaged locally.

Qatar-based company Al Jaber Engineering has been awarded a contract to design and build the facility, which has been in the works since last year.

Al Meera

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

But the project has taken on added significance since Qatar’s neighbors began a boycott against the country last month.

Qatar has been able to find other countries through which to import food, including Turkey and Iran.

Still, the blockade has been dubbed a “wakeup call” because the nation is so heavily reliant on imports.

In statement, Minister of Transport and Communications Al Sulaiti said:

“The State of Qatar views food security as an integral part of its national security.”

Ambitious plans

When completed in 2019, the 530,000 square meter facility should be able to hold enough food to meet two years worth of demand for three million people.

Animal feed will also be produced onsite through “recycling of waste products,” the transport ministry said.

Additionally, some of the products will be exported.

Mwani

Hamad Port for illustrative purposes only.

The facilities will operate in their own terminal, but 500m of Hamad Port’s wharf will be used to berth and discharge ships involved in the new project.

Qatar has already brought on several global food processing and storage companies ahead of the project’s launch.

They include Swiss-German Bühler; German BIA; and Italy’s C.M Bernardini.

However, officials have not yet said which countries they will source rice, sugar and other raw materials from.

Thoughts?

Ministry of Municipality and Environment

Closed Thai Smile branch at Barwa City

A branch of the popular restaurant Thai Smile has been temporarily closed by Qatar’s food inspectors for 45 days.

The eatery, which is near Lulu hypermarket in Barwa City, was one of nine shut down by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME/Baladiya) this month.

This is the second time in 18 months that the same branch of the restaurant has been closed by officials.

Shabina S. Khatri / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Last February, it was shut for a month after being found to have expired food.

Officials conducting spot-checks in mid-June found that the restaurant had flouted food safety laws.

Thai Smile will remain closed until the end of July, according to a notification in Arabic on the ministry’s website.

A photograph published on the site shows official closure stickers plastered on lights and other interior fittings of the eatery.

Food Master

Meanwhile, a cafeteria in Al Wakrah has also been shut until mid-August for having food in unhygienic conditions.

Ministry of Municipality and Environment

Closed Food Master cafeteria

Food Master, which sells affordable Indian and Chinese fare, was ordered to close for two months after inspectors visited last month.

Photographs on Baladiya’s site show moldy vegetables and a filthy freezer caked with what appears to be blood and juices from raw meat.

Ministry of Municipality and Environment

Freezers at Food Master

The 60-day closure is the toughest penalty the ministry can impose on erring establishments.

Enforcing rules

These eateries are among nine outlets that were shut by ministry officials last month for flouting the country’s food regulations.

The others were closed for between five and 20 days and have since reopened.

The closures are part of an ongoing campaign to enforce safety and hygiene standards on restaurants, grocery shops and warehouses storing food in the country.

Inspectors have spotted many violations in recent months.

In March for example, they closed Colombo restaurant in Mesaimeer after a small animal – possibly a rodent – was found in food there.

MME

Rodent found in food at Colombo Restaurant

The MME has the power to close down establishments for up to two months and to name them on their website and in newspapers, although this is usually only done in Arabic.

Have you eaten in any of these restaurants? Thoughts?

Pixabay

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A local businessman is planning to fly some 4,000 cows into Qatar to jumpstart a new dairy farm.

The aim is to help boost Qatar’s fresh milk supply, which suffered after the Gulf dispute erupted last week.

According to Bloomberg, the $8 million project is the brainchild of Moutaz Al Khayyat, chairman of Power International Holding.

UCC

Moutaz Al Khayyat

Al Khayyat is used to thinking big. He also heads Urbacon Trading & Contracting (UCC), which built the Mall of Qatar.

Speaking to Bloomberg, the official said the cows will be flown in on as many as 60 Qatar Airways flights, from Australia and the US. They weigh some 590kg apiece.

“This is the time to work for Qatar,” he said.

New producer

Up until a week ago, most of Qatar’s fresh dairy products came from Saudi Arabia.

But now that the border is closed, the country has been importing milk, yogurt and other goods from Iran and Turkey, among others.

It has also been selling its own homegrown products, though these are in limited supply.

However, Al Khayyat has been working to get a farm some 50km north of Doha up and running, as part of a larger plan to boost food security in Qatar.

According to Bloomberg:

“On a site covering the equivalent of almost 70 soccer fields, new grey sheds line two strips of verdant grass in the desert with a road running through the middle up to a small mosque.

It produces sheep milk and meat and there were already plans to import the cows by sea. Then Qatar was ostracized, so the project was expedited.”

The goal now is to launch milk production by month’s end, instead of in September.

Al Khayyat also ambitiously forecasted that his farm would cover a third of Qatar’s demand for fresh dairy by mid-July.

Thoughts?