A new law in Qatar now requires all food items to be labelled with nutritional information, with some exceptions.
6 January 2017| Last updated on 11 December 2017
Qatar’s health ministry has implemented a law banning the importation of food that doesn’t contain a nutrition label.
The first phase requires nutrition labels to be in English and eventually, it will be required in Arabic as well. Importers were given a grace period to comply before this law took effect.
Food labels, which include information such as calories and ingredients, are essential to promoting healthy eating.
Any food found to be imported without these labels will be confiscated until they meet the requirements.
There are certain foods that are exempt from this law.
Fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and meat imported as non-packaged items do not need to have labels.
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The following are also exempt from the labeling requirements:
Water in any packaging
Food imported for non-commercial use
Ingredients imported by businesses for use in kitchens and manufacturing
Small prepackaged food not exceeding 20 square cm
This law is part of many efforts Qatar is taking on to encourage a healthier lifestyle. Last year, the ministry made it a requirement to have warning labels on energy drinks. The labels caution children, pregnant or nursing women, those with heart disease as well as anyone allergic to caffeine against drinking such products.
They also made it mandatory for these types of drinks to be sold in a separate area than other refrigerated beverages.