Electronic Food Safety System
HE Minister of Public Health Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari inaugurated the electronic food safety system "Watheq" on Monday.
The electronic system is one of the most important national projects within the Qatar Public Health Strategy, under the strategic objective aimed at raising the level of food safety in accordance with the highest international standards and best applied practices in this field.
The electronic system is a food control process, based on standard operating procedures subject to international accreditation controls (ISO 17020), through three electronically linked systems which are: the system of control of imported and exported food, the system of control of food in the local market, and the electronic management of food analysis laboratories.
HE Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari affirmed that Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) adopts the most effective and integrated electronic systems, aiming the provision high-quality services to enhance the health and well-being of the community.
HE explained that the electronic food safety system enhances the efficiency of the Food Safety Department in controlling food across the entire food chain, as the system ensures the accuracy and rapidness of food control and food tracking in the markets, saves the time to get laboratory results and decreases food-related risks. All this enables the effective implementation of food safety requirements and Qatari regulations.
The electronic system will also contribute to the development of a central database covering accurate information on each food item in Qatar, which will help in decision-making related to food security, strategic food reserve, and scientific research, HE added.
Moreover, the electronic food safety system "Watheq" has been linked with the customs clearance system (Al-Nadib) to constitute an integrated platform that contains complete data on food and importers, to ensure efficient inspection of imported and exported food products at all ports in the State of Qatar.
For her part, Director of Food Safety and Environmental Health at MoPH Wassan Abdulla Al Baker declared, "We are happy that before the launch of the electronic system, our local and border inspection services have been accredited by the US Accreditation Bureau (ANAB) according to the international standard: ISO 17020. Also, the Central Food Laboratories obtained the renewal of international recognition, enhancing our inspection outputs' trust and credibility." "The electronic food safety system will make our inspection science-based and electronic that offers all electronic services to all concerned," she added.
The electronic system enables all stakeholders such as importers and suppliers to track food consignments and get all needed information related to the product, inspections, and circulars.
The electronic system supports control bodies as it provides electronic linkage and the rapid exchange of reports, information, results, and all details related to importers, exporters, and food establishments, tracks consignments, and identifies the risk levels for foods, as well as many important services for food establishments and consumers.
Since the soft launch of the electronic system, 3,330 food establishments, and 546,551 food products have been registered, 9,908 electronic services have been provided, and 138,787 imported food shipments have been inspected.
A food safety mobile application with various specifications and services will be launched later.
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