Qatar Chamber, in co-operation with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), recently hosted an introductory seminar on the ministry’s initiative ‘Third Party: Pre-Shipment Food Inspection on Food Dispatches’. This initiative aims to issue the required verification certificates for imported food products by a third party in the country of origin before they are shipped for export to ensure modern food safety measures. It also aims to ensure the smooth flow of products by matching them in the country of origin and easing control procedures at entry ports.
The meeting was attended by Mohamed bin Ahmed al-Obaidly, Qatar Chamber board member and chair of the Food Security & Environment Committee; Nora al-Owlan, director of Research and Studies; and Wassan Abdulla al-Baker, director of Food Safety and Environmental Health at MoPH.
Al-Baker stressed that the ministry recognises that effective and efficient inspection and certification systems are fundamental components of the food trade, affirming the importance of balancing the highest possible level of food safety and facilitating trade.
Al-Baker also thanked Qatar Chamber for holding the seminar and informing the private sector and traders on the initiative before approval, as well as its requirements and proposed application mechanisms. During the meeting, the Food Safety and Environmental Health Division gave a detailed explanation of the mechanism for implementing the programme, whereby third-party companies or the authorised body by the competent authority will issue certificates of conformity for imported food products from laboratories or competent authorities in the exporting country.
It said that this initiative is optional for private sector companies and aims at enhancing the public-private partnership and keeping pace with recent global trends in food control. The meeting also touched on the requirements for third-party accreditation, which include that the applicant must be a licensed entity in Qatar and engage in legal activity, and must have an international certificate of accreditation in the food inspection. Requirements also include that it must have appropriate technical and human capabilities, report on its activities to the ministry, and inform it of any violations monitored in relation to food dispatches.