The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has intensified inspections at food establishments, especially consumer societies, and food and drinking water factories, as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).
The campaign is being carried out in co-operation with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment and the Ministry of Commerce and industry.
The MOPH's Food Safety Department has put in place a thorough action plan focusing on facilities where violations of quality control in food handling were reported, and also preparing new inspection forms for societies and food factories.
The department's director Wasan Abdullah al-Baker said the MOPH's officials inspect about 60 consumer societies a week to ensure they meet the health requirements in general and the precautionary measures that have been declared to reduce the risk of an outbreak of infection in particular.
This includes a commitment by all workers at food establishments to wear masks and gloves, and to disinfect all packagings upon receiving and before storing them.
She said the officials also ensure that food establishments and hypermarkets check the temperature and the general health of the staff before they begin work, and do not let in any worker showing symptoms such as coughing or sneezing.
They also make sure the doors of refrigerators and all common surfaces are sanitised with disinfectants that comply with the specifications of the Ministry.
They also ensure that an alcohol-based hand sanitiser is provided to shoppers at the entrances of the hypermarket and shopping carts are sanitised.
The supervision of personal hygiene and health of all workers at the hypermarkets by those responsible has been intensified, with cashiers requiring to clean hands.
The Ministry has also intensified the inspection of factories classified as high-risk food establishments such as dairy units, and meat and poultry products to make sure they adhere to the health requirements of cleaning and disinfection of workers' accommodation on a daily basis, and that their mode of transport abides by the rules on the number of workers in each vehicle.
The workers are also required wear masks while on the move, and their temperature checked before entering the factory. They also need to adhere to the daily cleaning programme inside the factory and review all potential hazard points and methods of maintaining manufacturing safety.
The department also checks whether food safety education and training programmes for the workers in the factories are prepared and implemented, and cleaning and disinfection of products are done before dispatching food shipments to the market as well as cleaning food packages with appropriate disinfectants.
The department has distributed several circulars to consumer societies, restaurants, productive farms, food factories, water and food delivery companies, with directives on health and safety procedures.
The Ministry also carries out cultural activities related to preparing and distributing awareness posters for the public and workers with tips and recommendations related to personal hygiene and health behaviour.
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