As part of its crackdown ahead of Garangao, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning has found many sweet and dry-fruit shops selling gift packets (containing food) in violation of food laws.
Inspectors have intensified crackdown on food outlets, especially retail shops selling sweets and food items for gift as part of preparations for Garangao festival, the local Arabic daily Al Raya reported yesterday.
Garangao is a traditional children’s festival marked in Qatar when half of the fasting month of Ramadan is over on the 14th night, after the breaking of the fast. Kids visit homes and exchange gifts.
The ministry is striving to ensure that all sweet and gift packets (containing food) for sale must comply with health standards.
Civic inspectors also started crackdown at the beginning of Ramadan, conducting surprise raids on outlets dealing with food, including restaurants, hotels and warehouses.
Souq Waqif, popular among Qataris and expat, that attracts a large number of customers during Ramadan and Garangao, is the main focus of inspectors.
They are checking specifications for food items such production and expiry dates, and how they are stored or displayed.
The daily said most violations were related to poor handling and storage of food items, which were kept at places without proper ventilation.
Inspectors also found staff handling food items with expiry health certificates. The certificate is mandatory for every worker dealing with food.
Some food items such as dates and nuts at many retail outlets were found being sold without expiry dates.
According to laws, every gift packet (containing food items), packed locally or sourced from outside must carry production and expiry dates. Also, packaging should be done properly.
Perishable item such as chocolates, cakes, sweets and other confectionary products must not be kept in open places exposed to heat and dust.
The daily said inspectors have collected food samples and sent them to Central Laboratory. Results are awaited.
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