Earlier today, minister of health Wael Abou Faour decided to go on a press conference and out high-profile restaurants and supermarkets across Lebanon that are, according to him, selling Lebanese customers “bad products.”
I was sent the following pictures that detail what are “bad products,” incompatible as they supposedly are with the ministry’s standards:
This isn’t about naming and shaming the restaurants and supermarkets in question. Actually this is far from it. If you’re reading this expecting an angry blog post about Roadster or Hallab, then you’re very mistaken. What this will be is a rant about the utter lack of maturity and professionalism that the ministry has handled this with.
For starters Mr. Faour, what’s the point of a high profile press conference to name and shame restaurants without actually listing how those restaurants failed to meet the standards checked by the ministry? No, I’m not talking about what the “products” in question, but about how exactly those products failed to meet the standards.
This brings me to point #2. What are the ministry’s standards for evaluation exactly? You’d think a big ass conference that is bound to cause such a stir would at least start with that: on what basis were those places evaluated, what scientific measures did the samples go through to be assessed, how reputable are the labs where those samples were taken, how qualified are the doctors who actually oversaw what was taking place to begin with. None of this actually happened.
Mr. Faour’s press conference was yet another example of the fact-less, crowd-pleasing, let-us-get-the-biggest-buzz-possible Lebanese mentality of handling things: the less everyone knows the better; why do people need more information to be critical anyway? Faour knows best, and he knows where you should eat and where you shouldn’t.
In the next few days, everything you will hear about will be the restaurants named by Mr. Faour. There will probably not be any other piece of news that is worthy of airtime. People will freak out and panic and call for boycott all based on nothing but an empty list by a ministry known for its inaptitude. I mean, just look at the hospitals that are run by its teams. I’m rotating at one currently, so I would know exactly how miserable and despicable the conditions are over there. But isn’t this government, ministry and country all about half-assed measures?
Many of the restaurants that Faour named have standards that the ministry can only dream of reaching.
ISO-22000. This is an international certification that a few of the restaurants in question on Faour’s list have. To ensure that this certification is not revoked, those restaurants have to submit to regular quality checks. The ISO certification is internationally recognized for its high level of standards, and is applied in countries where governments are always vigilant and do not, like ours, wake up from a deep, deep slumber every now and then in order to fight for the gastroentereological rights of Lebanese citizens. That is a standard I trust, not some shady ministry measure aimed purely to create a scandal and boost a minister’s popularity.
I suggest you do the same for now.