MoPH working to ensure best food safety service during World Cup

Doha: The Food Safety Department of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced on Tuesday that it is working hard to ensure that the level of safety and quality of food traded and provided during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is the best and highest compared to previous World Cups.

According to a statment from MoPH,  the department is committed to using international best practices and providing all technical and human requirements to ensure that all imported, and locally produced food products sold within Qatar comply with the highest quality assurance standards.

MoPH’s food safety efforts are supporting the Health Security pillar of the Sport for Health partnership between MoPH and the World Health Organization, the statement said.

The Health Security pillar of this unique three-year partnership is committed to putting safety and security at the center of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, with a specific focus on risk assessment, mass gathering protocols inside and outside stadiums, event-based surveillance to protect people from infectious disease outbreaks and risk communications.

Verification of food safety requirements includes a set of control procedures for food preparation, handling, and storage processes, to prevent foodborne infections and diseases, potential sources of risk are tracked across all stages of the food chain from the beginning of the harvesting phase to the stages of processing plants or packaging plants for transportation onwards and until reaching the consumer’s table, where ensuring safe practices is critical to food safety.

Director of Food Safety in the Ministry of Public Health Wasan Abdulla Al Baker said the department’s role is to work closely with all relevant stakeholders to promote and maintain a culture of food safety among all parties involved in the food supply chain, adding that From the moment imported food arrives in Qatar, our food safety teams are working to ensure that they comply with the highest quality assurance standards.

Our laboratories, which are ISO 17025 accredited and distributed between the central laboratory and its branches in Hamad Port and Ruwais, facilitate the rapid and effective safety inspection and clearance of food shipments to the country. Local and border inspection services have been accredited by the US Accreditation Office in accordance with the international standards ISO 17020 .” She pointed out.

Inspections are subject to a risk assessment approach that is based on the compatibility of the inspection level with the potential risk level of each food item according to its nature, origin, and matching expiration date.

Our food safety teams carry out inspections 24/7 across all food outlets in Qatar including factories, supermarkets, restaurants, and commercial kitchens, Al-Baker said.

She said food safety is a shared responsibility of governments, producers and consumers, by following standard and simple food safety practices including: maintaining hand hygiene while handling food, washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly before cooking and before eating them fresh, avoiding keeping ready-to-eat food hot or chilled at room temperature for a long time, as well as avoiding buying exposed foods and foods exposed to any source of contamination, reading the food label to determine the content and expiration date, and using tools.

Serve and avoid touching foods when eating them from the buffet, and do not use the same serving tools from different food items that may contain allergens, to avoid cross-contamination in buffets.

Food safety hazards are renewable, multifaceted, and transboundary; therefore, MoPH’s Food Safety Department has upgraded its surveillance capabilities in accordance with the best international practices.

It recently launched a new electronic food safety system, “Watheq” to minimize risks to the minimum level possible.

The new system facilitates an advanced food control process, based on standard operating procedures subject to international accreditation controls utilizing three electronically linked systems: the system of control of imported and exported food, the system of control of food in the local market, and the electronic management of food analysis laboratories.



Source: The Peninsula