* With 10 test centres, it will enhance the capabilities of food safety management in harmony with the best international standards
HE Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, and HE Minister of Transportation and Communications Jassim bin Saif al- Sulaiti, Thursday inaugurated the Food Safety Lab, affiliated to Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) Central Food Laboratories, at Hamad Port.
Al-Kuwari affirmed the ministry's keenness to enhance the capabilities of food safety management system in harmony with the best international standards that require development of lab services, noting that the lab uses the latest internationally approved analysis techniques to ensure the accuracy and safety of results in a way that contributes to ensuring quality and safety of food in local market.
She explained that opening labs at the main ports facilitates clearance procedures of food shipments. The minister indicated that the lab obtained international accreditation (ISO 17025) for the results before its official opening and pointed out that the lab includes 10 test centres and a store of chemicals. It aims to accelerate analysis and control of food, facilitate early release of food shipments and reduce the storage burden on ports.
For his part, the Minister of Transportation and Communications said the inauguration of the food safety laboratory is a new addition to the Hamad Ports accomplishments, adding that it will complement efforts to accelerate the process for food import companies in Qatar and protect the interests of traders and importers, in addition, to enhancing the requirements of shipping operators.
He pointed out that the lab building has been constructed by the Hamad Port Project Steering Committee in accordance with the highest international technical standards in order to achieve the vision of the Ministry of Communications and Communications in integrating the port facilities work mechanisms using the latest advanced technology.
He also said the huge technical capabilities and modern facilities, coupled with the advanced systems at Hamad Port have contributed significantly to enhancing the mechanisms and regulations of the competent state authorities at the port.
Wassan Abdullah al-Baker, Director of the Food Safety Department at MoPH, explained that the chemical analysis unit handles fresh or processed food samples to analyse pesticide remains, including the detection in its first stage of 423 pesticides commonly used in field products. The analysis is done using the liquid and gas "chromatography" related to the mass spectrometer, which are the two most recent technologies in the world in the field of pesticide analysis and detection and their concentrations.
She added the Microbiological Analysis and Molecular Biology Unit also receives all food samples as detection of the microbial content in the samples for all microbial species determined by the regional and international food standards is carried out using the latest global analysis techniques. This includes the technique of genetic fingerprinting (PCR) used for DNA analysis, detecting contamination in meat, within a standard time that does not exceed 24 hours from the receiving of sample, using standard analytical methods to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the results for all samples.
The inauguration of the lab comes as part of plans to expand this important sector of public health, and to add labs for food analysis with the same competence and accreditation that the main labs have obtained since 2015 with the aim of achieving food safety and security in the country.