Strategy to boost food safety in Qatar
April 21 2014 01:52 AM
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Wassan Abdullah al-Baker, food safety and environmental health manager, SCH; Dr Sheikh Mohammed al-Thani, the National Committee for Food Safety’s head; and Dr Anton Alldrick, senior projects manager, Campden BRI.

More than 250 food inspectors are being trained by the Supreme Council of Health in association with UK-based Campden BRI, under a programme launched yesterday

 

By Joseph Varghese

Staff Reporter

 

Qatar has embarked on an ambitious programme to augment further the country’s food safety, emphasising the need to take a “risk-based approach”.

More than 250 food inspectors are being trained by the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) in association with UK-based Campden BRI, under a programme launched yesterday to impart them with a “high level of competency”.

A series of workshops, named “Risk-Based Food Safety Inspections Skills”, will be held to train the inspectors in two sessions. The first one is to be held in seven sessions until June 12. The second part will be from August 31 to November 6.

The National Committee for Food Safety’s head, Dr Sheikh Mohamed al-Thani, said that even though the level of food safety in the country was already “very high”, the workshops would help the inspectors learn  new global trends and skills.

“The training will help them understand the risks associated with various food items in the long term. We hope to provide the same level of competency to all  inspectors, transfer knowledge from the West and make Qatar gain high international standards in food safety which is line with the Qatar National Vision 2030,” he noted.

Wassan Abdullah al-Baker, food safety and environmental health manger, SCH, said the training was designed to make inspections on the basis of the risks involved in each food item at specific stages and the strategies for risk evaluation will be provided during the sessions.

“There are physical risks, microbiological risks and chemical risks associated with food items. The inspectors have to categorise the risks and check them. They have to understand different levels of risk involved with each food item and prioritise them as high risk, low risk and minimal risk. This will save a lot efforts and time. The programme will give them the inputs to categorise risks.”

The official  noted that  training would be provided through a pre-assessment of each inspector’s knowledge about various factors.

“We will first assess their logic in inspection and the level of information they have. Then they will be given case studies to solve. During the theoretical part, they will address these issues,” she pointed out while adding that her department needed more inspectors.

Dr Anton Alldrick, senior projects manger, Campden BRI, said  the courses would emphasise the need to take a risk-based approach to food safety, from farm to table.

“The inspectors will be reminded of the significant hazards that can be associated with food, how these are prevented and what evidence the inspector should look for to ensure that food businesses are correctly managed.

“This will include ensuring that the food businesses have an appropriate understanding of international standards of food hygiene practice and food safety management systems,” he added.

 

 

 

 

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