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The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) intensified its control procedures over food circulating inside hotels participating in the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 hosted in the country from Nov. 30 to Dec. 18.

In this context, Director of Food Safety and Environmental Health at the MOPH Wassan Abdulla Al Baker said that the ministry has prepared an integrated four-stage control, to achieve the highest levels of food safety and security that are presented to delegations and teams inside the hotels participating in the Arab Cup and to verify the extent of compliance with health requirements to protect public health. The plan started two months ago with the first phase, which included a preliminary evaluation of hotels to measure their compliance with health requirements for food safety.

The evaluation was a comprehensive audit process for the 12 hotels participating in the Arab Cup, she said.

During the evaluation process, the inspectors focused on the areas that most affect the safety of the food traded, as they inspected the various stages of food preparation and the hotel infrastructure, and verified the effectiveness of the preventive plan followed and the extent of workers training and awareness of food safety rules, in addition to organizing inspection visits to hotels by MOPH inspectors to supervise the implementation of the recommendations of the evaluation process and the required corrective actions, she indicated.

She added that the second phase of the Ministry of Public Health's plan targeted food handlers working in food establishments in hotels. The ministry organized workshops for officials in restaurants and kitchens in hotels to emphasize the importance of adhering to health requirements based on the food safety practices guide prepared by the ministry and how to apply all the health requirements correctly.

She stressed that the guide shows the rules of health practices and how to meet the mandatory legislative requirements. It explains in detail the procedures for food safety, based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system. She noted the discussion of the inquiries of officials on some parts of the guide, in addition to presenting the recommendations of the Food Safety and Environmental Health department to ensure the safety of food prepared in hotels.

The Director of the Food Safety and Environmental Health Department explained that during the third phase, a preliminary experiment was conducted to test the level of awareness of food safety rules among food handlers in these hotels. All 500 traders underwent a professional preliminary test over the past two weeks, and the results showed a high success rate. She stressed that the test to determine the level of awareness of food traders came within the framework of an integrated program project that the MOPH is preparing in cooperation with Qatar Chamber to implement it in all categories of food traders.

In the fourth phase of the plan, emphasis was placed on the importance of preparing for any food risk situations. The Food Safety and Environmental Health Department provided workshops for hotel managers and officials, during which the concept, principles, and rules of food defense and protection were highlighted, she said.

Regarding the championship period, a routine inspection schedule has been prepared to ensure that all hotels are covered daily, and health control activities include everything that may directly or indirectly affect the safety and quality of the offered food, where the stages of supply, storage, preparation, and display are inspected, and the inspectors are particularly keen on inspecting and examining high-risk points, including the preparation and handling of sensitive foods.

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