* Food safety mobile application to be launched later
HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari on Sunday inaugurated the electronic food safety system, 'Watheq'.
The electronic system involves a food control process based on standard operating procedures subject to international accreditation controls (ISO 17020), through three electronically linked systems: the system of control of imported and exported food, the system of control of food in the local market, and the electronic management of food analysis laboratories.
The electronic system is one of the most important national projects undertaken within the Qatar Public Health Strategy, under the strategic objective to “develop an integrated risk-based inspection service certified to relevant international standards such as ISO/IEC 17020:2012 for imported, locally produced and exported food products that are supported by modern electronic management systems, effective diagnostic services, and monitoring and surveillance systems”, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said in a statement.
HE Dr al-Kuwari affirmed that MoPH adopts the most effective and integrated electronic systems, aiming to provide high-quality services to enhance the health and well-being of the community.
She explained that the electronic food safety system enhances the efficiency of the Food Safety Department in terms of food control across the entire food chain. It ensures the accuracy and rapidness of food control and food tracking in markets, saves the time taken to get laboratory results and reduces food-related risks. All these factors enable the effective implementation of food safety requirements and Qatari regulations.
The electronic system will also contribute to the development of a central database covering accurate information on each food item in Qatar, which will help in decision-making related to food security, the strategic food reserve and scientific research, she added.
'Watheq' has also been linked to the Customs clearance system (Al Nadeeb) to constitute an integrated platform that contains complete data on food and importers, in order to ensure the efficient inspection of imported and exported food products at all ports in Qatar.
Wassan Abdullah al-Baker, director of the Food Safety Department at the MoPH, said: "We are happy that before the launch of the electronic system, our local and
border inspection services have been accredited by the US Accreditation Bureau (ANAB) according to the international standard, ISO 17020. Also, the Central Food Laboratories obtained the renewal of international recognition, which enhances the trust and credibility of our inspection outputs. Further, the electronic food safety system will make our inspection science-based and electronic, offering electronic services to all concerned."
The electronic system enables all stakeholders such as importers and suppliers to track food consignments and get all the required information related to a product, inspections and circulars. It supports control bodies as it provides electronic linkage and the rapid exchange of reports, information, results and all details related to importers, exporters and food establishments, tracks consignments, and identifies the risk levels for foods.
Since the soft launch of the electronic system, 3,330 food establishments and 546,551 food products have been registered, while 9,908 electronic services have been provided and 138,787 imported food shipments inspected.
A food safety mobile application will be launched later with various specifications and services, the statement adds.