Posted on August 29, 2014

The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning has launched a massive awareness campaign, urging people to check the freshness of meat and fish before buying. 

Apart from the public plea, hoardings along major roads across the country, including Doha, also carry an easy-to-remember telephone number 44266666 to lodge complaints against shops selling meat, fish and other food products that are not fit for human consumption or have expired. To encourage people to file complaints against earring retailers and food outlets, the advertisement reads: “We are all with you, you are not alone”.

When contacted, Mohammad Al Syed, Head, Food Inspection Department, Doha Municipality, said: “The campaign aims to spread awareness about health and hygiene.” However, he said it is not the result of any issue or problem in the market. “Every customer should check the dates of manufacturing and expiry before buying an item. In case of fresh meat and fish, people should see, touch and feel to ensure the products are fit for consumption.”

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For instance, he said the freshness of fish can be ensured by opening its mouth and checking whether it is red. Al Syed advised people not to buy fresh fish and meat in bulk to keep them in refrigerators at home for a longer period. “There is no shortage of fresh fish and meat in the market and we should buy frequently instead of buying and hoarding in bulk.” 

The campaign in Arabic and English is sponsored by Qatargas. Before Eid Al Fitr, the municipality had set up a special team to receive complaints against outlets breaching health and safety rules. Apart from violations related to meat, fish and their by-products (sausage, smoked meat and others), people can lodge complaints against eateries, including fast food joints, and outlets selling sweets and confectionery items, on the same telephone number.

Civic inspectors are doing the rounds of shops, checking to ensure their compliance with health and safety rules. Veterinarians are a part of the team to check the quality of meat at butcheries.