TEN restaurants have been shut down since the start of year, following complaints received at the Public Health Directorate, it has emerged.
The 42-member Food Safety Department at the directorate under the Health Ministry receives an average of three to four complaints a day, said supervisor Abdulnabi Ali.
“Our food inspectors are out checking the restaurants, cafeterias and other food vending areas,” he told the GDN.
“They carry out checks even at late hours, and our checks are indeed more during summer in shops that sell food like shawarma.
“We receive three to four cases daily, which range from concerns like hair in the food to unclean serving dishes to an unhygienic waiter.
“However, some people (customers) use complaints to bargain for money; they want the outlet to pay them to keep quiet, which is unethical.
“Penalties for violations range from BD10 to BD20 or more. Sometimes we shut down the place temporarily and in a serious case, the licence is revoked.
“We have closed down more than 10 joints since the start of this year. Reasons vary; not all are related to food safety. They include lack of licences and other requirements as per the law.
“Some of these have been reopened, while the law is taking its course in the other cases.
“We don’t make these figures public, as in most of the cases, closure is meant to give owners time to realise their mistake and correct it. We don’t want to harm businesses, we are here to ensure public food safety.
“We also conduct regular inspections at the three ports – Bahrain International Airport, Khalifa bin Salman Port and King Fahad Causeway.
“We take samples for conducting lab tests and all other relevant checks.”