Health clamp on fast food outlets

HEALTH authorities are carrying out a clampdown on Bahrain’s restaurants and fast food outlets violating safety rules, it emerged yesterday.

Officials said scores of such places had either been fined or shut down temporarily.

“Those which have been fined included several well-known fast food restaurants as well as other popular eating places,” said an official at the Health Ministry’s food control section who didn’t want to be named.

“There are violations at several places as our inspectors move around.

“We are here to try and spot as many as we can and prevent the people from suffering as a result.”

The official was speaking as it emerged last Tuesday that a well-known fast food joint had been fined BD300 by the Lower Criminal Court after a cockroach was found in a customer’s meal.

“Though several restaurant owners have been taken to court, we prefer to avoid that since it takes a lot of time,” said the official.

“A case, if it goes to court, could take at least one year to reach a conclusion.”

He said officials always preferred to fine the outlet or close it down under the provisions of the Public Health Law for a few days if any violations were reported.

“A case goes to court only after there are repeated violations and no improvements,” said the official.

The official said fines normally range from BD10 to BD100, depending on the violation.

“We are, however, pressing for more fines under the new law which is now under preparation,” he said.

The official also urged consumers to inform the ministry about shops or restaurants storing food improperly, selling expired goods or any other unsafe practices.

By MANDEEP SINGH
Gulf Daily

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