Browsing 'MME' News

April Younglove / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Reacting to avian flu outbreaks in other countries, Qatar has begun cracking down on live bird imports and exports.

According to Al Raya, a temporary ban has been placed on this type of animal.

A source at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) told the newspaper that the ban also applies to some fresh poultry and eggs.

Pietro Izzo / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In the past few weeks, different strains of the bird flu virus have emerged in France, South Korea, India, the UK and many other nations.

In some countries, birds got sick and died of the flu, while in others, humans contracted the virus and grew ill or died.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia has in the past 10 days banned chickens and eggs from India, parts of France and Poland over bird flu concerns.

Safety first

The MME source told Al Raya that all poultry products currently inside of Qatar are safe and subject to rigorous inspection.

These imports cannot pass through Qatar’s ports of entry without certification from their home country that they are free of infectious diseases, he added.

William Brawley/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Veterinarians are also keeping tabs on geese, ostriches and other birds at local farms.

A few months ago in October, the MME said it was taking “precautionary measures” to protect residents against the spread of bird flu.

The virus can cause fever, malaise, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, abdominal pain, chest pain and diarrhea. These can then develop quickly and cause severe respiratory problems.

In a statement last week, the World Health Organization said:

“WHO advises that travelers to countries with known outbreaks of avian influenza should avoid, if possible, poultry farms, contact with animals in live bird markets, entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered, or contact with any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals.

Travelers should also wash their hands often with soap and water, and follow good food safety and good food hygiene practices.”

Thoughts?

Matthew Smith/Wikimedia

Damas tree

The Damas tree, a common plant whose complex roots damage underground water pipes, can no longer be imported, sold or planted in Qatar, officials have said.

According to local media reports, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) has asked nurseries to stop bringing the Conocarpus lancifolius trees into the country.

The fast-growing plants can tolerate heat, drought and salty soil, and are commonly used in landscaping across the Gulf region.

Ulf Mehlig/Wikimedia

Damas plant

But the MME’s Public Parks Department said the Damas trees are strangling underground pipes and choking drains with their roots.

Regional ‘menace’

The Damas tree has many redeeming qualities, including its low cost, but authorities across the GCC have been railing against it for years.

In 2012 for example, developer Emaar launched a “Say no to Damas” campaign after the trees began cracking walls of compounds and damaging homes.

At the time, a Saudi newspaper called the tree a “menace” despite its ability to provide shade and act like a privacy fence between neighbors.

It is likely that in Qatar, the plant will not disappear completely.

According to the Peninsula, the MME said it will make certain exceptions for people buying through ministry nurseries.

Thoughts?

Oriental Kitchen, temporarily closed by food inspectors

MME

Oriental Kitchen, temporarily closed by food inspectors

The popular Malaysian/Chinese restaurant Oriental Kitchen is one of more than a dozen restaurants that have been closed temporarily for violating Qatar’s food laws.

So far this month, at least 13 restaurants, cafes and eateries were closed between 10 and 30 days by the Ministry of Municipality and the Environment (MME).

Oriental Kitchen, on Al Khalidiya St. in Najma, was censured for having “unhygienic conditions” during spot checks last week. It was ordered shut for 10 days, according to the list of restaurant closures on MME’s website.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Shabina S. Khatri

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The restaurant, which is one of the few in town offering affordable, authentic Malaysian food, is due to re-open later this week.

Three other eateries in the Najma area have been closed this month for preparing food in unhygienic conditions and for storing items that are past their expiry date, inspectors said.

The local cafeterias, which were all closed by inspectors on the same day, were Four Star Restaurant, which serves Bangladeshi fare; Bombay Sweets and Thripthi Restaurant, which sells Chinese and Indian food.

They were all shut for 10 days each.

Al Sadd closures

Another Doha favorite, Amjad (Thai) Snacks, which is on Al Mirqab Al Jadeed St. in Freej Nasser, was shut down for 30 days for unhygienic conditions.

And Biryani Corner on the same street has been closed for 15 days for the same reason.

Baladiya closed Biryani Corner in Al Sadd for 15 days on Nov. 7

MME

Baladiya closed Biryani Corner in Al Sadd for 15 days on Nov. 7

Further down the street, Al Muqbil restaurant and juice stall was also closed last week for 15 days for unhygienic conditions.

In nearby Bin Mahmoud, Jaal Broasted Chicken was shut on Nov. 6 for 10 days for having unhygienic conditions.

Expired and unfit to eat

Two cafeterias in Al Wakrah have also fallen foul of MME officials. Haneen Sweets and Nuts was closed today (Nov. 13) for 10 days for having food unfit for consumption.

Expired dried fruit at Haneen Sweets and Nuts in Al Wakrah

MME

Expired dried fruit at Haneen Sweets and Nuts in Al Wakrah

Pictures posted on MME’s website showed packages of dried papaya and boxes of chewing gum, both of which were past their expiry date.

And at the beginning of the month, Shams Al Khaleej, which sells burgers, wraps and sandwiches, was censured for having food unfit for consumption and closed for one week. It has since reopened.

Close by in Barwa Village, Bakka Restaurant was closed on Nov. 3 for 30 days for having food that inspectors said was unfit for consumption.

Another cafeteria, Al Muhaizah in Al Maamoura, was closed last week for 10 days. And in Al Khaisa in northern Qatar, a branch of the chain Hot Tea was closed on Nov. 8 for 10 days  for having food unfit for consumption.

Insect in food from Hot Tea, Al Khaisa

MME

Insect in food from Hot Tea, Al Khaisa

A photograph on the MME’s site showed an insect in a customer’s meal.

These are the latest in an ongoing campaign by the ministry to enforce Qatar’s food laws for restaurants, grocery shops and food storage areas.

Officials have 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.

Thoughts?