Food outlets face stiffer penalties

 25 Feb 2014 - 3:40


DOHA: Penalties for eateries and other food outlets violating the food monitoring law have been made tougher. Erring outlets now straight away face closure for up to 60 days.
Earlier, outlets were closed initially for one month, and the closure was extended to two months and then three months if the violation was repeated. 
The Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani yesterday issued a law (No. 4 of 2014) amending some provisions of law No. 8 of 1999 on monitoring of food for human consumption. The new law, comprising three articles, amends articles 19 and 32 of the existing law.
The amended Article 32 gives authorities the right to close an outlet violating the law for “not more than 60 days.” 
According to the amendment, the Qatar Authority for Standards and Specifications at the Ministry of Environment has also been given the power to decide on closure of erring outlets. Earlier, this power was limited to departments at the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning and the Supreme Council of Health. 
The person responsible for the violation will bear the expenses involved in the closure. 
A sticker will be placed at the outlet saying that it (or the specific area of the outlet) has been closed for violating the food monitoring law, and the decision will be published on the website of the department that has taken the decision.
The affected person has the right to lodge a complaint against the decision with the Minister of Municipality and Urban Planning, Minister of Health or the Minister of Environment (depending on which department has taken the decision) within 10 days of the date of closure. 
The minister may respond to this complaint in 10 days. If there is no response during this period, it will mean the plea has been rejected and the decision is final.
The amended Article 19 says that employees at the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, Supreme Council of Health and Qatar Authority for Standards and Specification will be assigned by a decision of the Public Prosecution and with the consent of the minister concerned to conduct inspections at eateries and other food outlets. 
They will have judicial powers and be authorised to inspect and confirm violations of the law.
Earlier, inspectors with judicial powers were assigned from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning and the municipalities concerned directly by the respective minister.