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Qatar set to enforce GCC food import norms in April


Hisham Al-Jundi
Doha
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) will start implementing the GCC Guide for control on imported food items from April, according to a top ministry official. The implementation will be made mandatory from October 2017.
The GCC guide aims to achieve highest level of food safety as per the best international standards and to ease the international food trade.
Wasan Abdallah al Baker, Director of Food Safety and Environmental Health at MoPH, said the GCC guide introduces basic technical procedures for control on imported food products.
As per the guide, all technical regulations and GCC international standards will be applied to imported food items. The food items must meet religious guidelines (Halal) attached with a certificate for import. However, the guideline is not applicable to food items imported for personal consumption, as long as they are well packed and provide all manufacturing details.
Customs declaration, commercial registration, certificate of health safety and proof that slaughter meets Islamic standards (Halal) are a must for importing food products.
Food items can be confiscated if all the required documents are not available during inspections and clearance. Food items can be confiscated if not accompanied by Halal validity documents or on suspicion of the documents being forged.
However, confiscated food products can be temporarily released in case it wasn't proved poisonous for reanalysis to rehabilitate or to dispose of them.
Import of food products carrying no health certificate from the country of origin or if the countries where they (food items) originate have been blacklisted from exporting food products are banned.

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