The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has designated the Food Safety Laboratories of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) as an IAEA's international collaborating center in food safety and quality for four years, (June 2024 to June 2028).

The move marks the first-of-its-kind milestone in the Middle East region, in terms of food safety and quality through which the MoPH's laboratories will work as an international reference for theoretical and practical trainings, so as to conduct scientific research and tours in this field.

The designation was announced during the participation of MoPH's Food Safety Department in the International Symposium on Food Safety and Control, organized recently by IAEA in Vienna, Austria.

Director of the Food Safety Department at MoPH Wasan Abdullah Al Baker hailed this global designation to build human capacities and give foremost priority to the least developed countries in training, in addition to capitalizing on infrastructure and knowledge transference, in accordance with the Memorandum of Practical Arrangements co-signed by MoPH and IAEA last November, in implementation of the recommendations of the fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) hosted by Qatar in March 2023.

The contribution of the MoPH's Food Safety Laboratories as a collaborating center is primarily part and parcel of the State of Qatar's pledges to live up to its international obligations, since it is a first-of-its-kind designation, in terms of ensuring food safety in the region, Al Baker added.

For her part, Head of the Central Food Laboratory (CFL) at MoPH Najat Ali al Abd al Malek affirmed that this designation enhances the Qatar-IAEA practical collaboration in the areas of peaceful uses of atomic energy and highlights the State of Qatar's global role in this field, in addition to strengthening the MoPH's plan to ensure that food safety laboratories become an excellence hub in the region.

The MoPH's Food safety laboratories have international accreditation from the American Accreditation Board (AAB) and receive massive local and international confidence after they had maintained advanced rankings in the Food and Environment Research Agency laboratory performance assessment programmes in the UK.

Representatives of MoPH's Food Safety Department have recently participated in the International Symposium on Food Safety and Control organized by IAEA in Vienna, during which Wasan Abdullah Al Baker reviewed the State of Qatar's experience in managing the challenges of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 pertaining to food safety.

Alongside the symposium, the department participated in an exhibition that demonstrated the Watheq E-system for food control process, with the booklet of the department's laboratories being launched in collaboration with IAEA. Also, the event showcased three scientific publications on surveilling chemical and radioactive contaminations in vegetables and fraud in honey and olive oil.
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