New list of food safety
violators announced
Private sector requests retesting of samples
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The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced a new list of violating food institutions in Mount Lebanon.

The continued backlash regarding this issue has triggered the private sector to send a delegation to meet with Health Minister Wael Abou Faour, to request that the new samples be retested.

Food safety topped the Cabinet’s agenda today and discussed at length. The Cabinet approved the formation of a committee of representatives from the ministries of Economy and Trade, Health and Tourism to follow up on the issue.

Minister Abou Faour said that he will not be deterred by any threats and will continue working on the issue.

The MoPH said that each violating institution will be sanctioned according to the gravity of violation. There are three procedures; the first is warning these companies, then issuing a minute and penalizing them, and closing the contaminated department.

The Internal Security Forces has issued 32 minutes to ban the offending institutions from producing contaminated food, in the future.

Charles Arbid, Chairman of the Lebanese Franchise Association, said: “We expressed our reservations regarding the standards applied by MoPH in taking, transporting, storing and testing the samples.” He said they want to be sure that MoPH applied international standards in testing these samples.

Joseph Nakhoul, Director of the Syndicate of Hotels, said: “Announcing the names of the violating institutions will negatively impact the hospitality sector.” He said that MoPH should have taken measures against these institutions before announcing their names.

Arbid said: “We don’t want to defame the food institutions before making sure that they have committed violations, especially in light of the unstable economic situation.” He said that Abou Faour is willing to cooperate with the food institutions and promised to take additional samples for testing.

The Syndicate of Restaurants, Cafes, Night Clubs, and Patisseries, issued a statement urging food institutions to take steps to ensure that they are handling and serving food safely.

The Syndicate suggested steps to achieve this, including reducing the shelf life of poultry and meat by one day and maintaining chillers' internal temperature at below 5 °C.

The Syndicate has asked food institutions not to receive items that are not at 5 °C or below, to reduce manipulation by hand as much as possible, to be very vigilant in implementing and monitoring proper hand washing techniques.

During the Cabinet session Abou Faour signed the sandwiches brought to the Ministers as a seal of quality.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Nov 13, 2014