Food Safety Lab opened at Hamad Port

Doha: H E Dr Hanan Muhammad Al-Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, and H E Jassim bin Saif Al-Sulaiti, Minister of Transportation and Communications, inaugurated today the Food Safety Lab, affiliated to MoPH Central Food Laboratories, at Hamad Port.

Following the inauguration ceremony, their excellencies toured the lab and listened to a thorough briefing from the personnel in charge.

The Minister of Public Health, affirmed the ministry's keenness to enhance the capabilities of food safety management system in harmony with the best international standards, that required 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.

Her Excellency explained that opening labs at the main ports facilitates clearance procedures of food shipments. HE indicated that the lab obtained international accreditation (ISO 17025) for the results, before its official opening. 

The Minister pointed out that the lab includes ten test centers 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.

The Minister of Transportation and Communications, said: “The inauguration of the food safety laboratory is considered a new addition to the Hamad Port’s accomplishments. The lab will contribute to accelerating the processing of food import companies’ transactions in Qatar to protect the interests of traders and importers, in addition to enhancing the requirements of shipping operators.”

His Excellency 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.  

"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," he added.

The lab carries out its current activities through two analysis units, which are the chemical analysis unit (pesticide residues) and the microbiological and molecular biology unit.

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 analyze pesticide remains, which includes 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.

Analyzing several stages of daily accuracy tests and verifying the validity and integrity of the results before the results of the samples are issued within a record time not exceeding twenty-four hours from the time of receiving the samples.

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 such as 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 inaugural 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.

As seen on Peninsula Qatar  Image Credits Peninsula Qatar