Lebanon’s “Bad” Restaurants: How The Ministry Of Health Messed Up

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.

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63 thoughts on “Lebanon’s “Bad” Restaurants: How The Ministry Of Health Messed Up

  1. I completely agree Elie, more transparency is definitely necessary, and people should not just follow blindly. BUT, at the end of the day, I honestly just wouldn’t trust MOST (not all) places in Lebanon, including those with ISO certifications… ‘international’ ok but at the end of the day… its made in Lebanon, the country of professionals in non-professionalism, cheating, wastas, selfishness and what not !!!! Of course there will always be the honest and honestly good few outcasts 😉
    It would have been so much faster to pin point those places that are trustworthy… then again, I wouldn’t have trusted the article either X)

    Reply
    • I full agree with what you said. My point here was: regardless of whether those restaurants are bad or not, we – the people – should at least know on what basis the minister is asking us to boycott the products they are selling and which he deemed subpar.

      Hope all is well!

      Reply
  2. it is so funny how easily they can point fingers without any real clues to show! does mr faour think getting an ISO certification is that easy?? ISO is not lebanese, so they can’t be given 100$ to give such certification. but may i remind everybody that mr faour is lebanese? just sayin’ ! and it’s the same thing that was done with dairy khoury, same vague accusations without really significant evidence!

    Reply
    • Regardless of Lebanese corruption, there should have been a very clear demarcation of how this report came to be. And the results should have been explained much more thouroughly especially with so many places listed.

      When it comes to me personally, I trust places with accountability and international certification more than shady Lebanese governance.

      Reply
  3. You clearly have not watched the news conference, or at least not the whole thing. Because he states the product that violates the standards in every restaurant and for many, the types of microbes and deseases found.. You can cal the ministry and ask for access to the scientific reports by the labs before carrying this clearly “bloggy” reactionary attack on the minister.
    PS: no political affiliation involved, and i’m not even a fan of Abu Faour.
    Nizar Hassan
    Journalist at The Daily Star, but views strictly my own.

    Reply
    • As is clear in this post, the type of products is listed in the two images i attached. That is not the point. The entire point is how they got there.

      I am aware he listed microbes, but I do not care about bacteria. I care about the process the ministry enlisted to get to their conclusion and on how a minister thought it was a good idea to hold such a conference.

      Anyway, bloggy reaction or not, I am here asking questions and I hope journalists ask the minister questions first before baragging the restaurants in question, as they will most likely do in the coming two days.

      Moreover, I see no need for you to list your credentials in order to boost your credibility.

      Reply
      • it just seems to me your are angry at the country and the minister himself, as most people are. Maybe even your political opinion has something to do with this rant. I agree that more information is needed for a clear picture of the violations committed but it just seems to me your defending the restaurants without much proof either. An ISO certification doesn’t guarantee quality 24/7 all year long, and business owners in Lebanon just like the government itself are not all exactly the models for professionalism and ethics. I wouldn’t trust them blindly not cut corners every now and then to save costs and make more profits.

        Before taking sides in this matter and defending anyone, restaurant owners or the minister, I believe this post should simply be about asking for more information which is our right. At the end of the day it’s in our best interest to know what we are eating, if the minister is on to something and is actually right about those restaurants then thank you Mr. Faour. If not, then rant all you want and defend the restaurants all you want.

        Reply
  4. If you listen well to the press conference, you can tell that he explained what’s wrong with the bad products.. (mentioning Salmonella and E. coli) what do you need to know more? the percentages? it’s non of your business 🙂

    Reply
  5. To the Ministry of Health in Leabonon,

    I believe we have freedom of speech and democracy. I have been in the food industry all my life and the El Bakkars have been in the food and meat industry before your father was born. I am sure the facility of your Health Ministry is contaminated and not even up to the standards of a kanzeer barn. For you to place your tainted and bribed opinion on Hallab Pastry and Baytona and Dar Al Amar restaurants is beyond hysterical laughter. For over 200 years the El Bakkar and Hallab have been serving to those in Lebanon and abroad. They are the example of cleanliness and professionalism. Think about cleaning your hand and ass before you speak next time. Your “government” and you are more contaminated than a sewer. Sorry for being so blunt but Fuck You

    Reply
  6. i want to ask about SOUFI RESTAURANT at Tal tripoli. They make the best shawarma ever but in the badest condition of cleanless in the world, badly than chinese street retaurant.
    This list is a shame to all lebanese.

    Reply
  7. This is isn’t a new phenomenon happening in Lebanon, for years and years we’ve heard on media that the food\water consumed by the Lebanese people are polluted by god-know-what type of bacterias and lethal microbes.
    As minister of health, Mr Abou Faour has the ultimate duty to safeguard the health and well-being of his constituency. I see his act of naming and shaming very courageous, and as I read in the above comment, concerned parties can access the ministry for further scientific details and evidence, and prove the opposite.
    We criticize the government for not performing its obligations, and when they actually do… we criticize them again.

    Reply
  8. i would like to reply to the commenters questioning the professionalism behind handing out ISO certifications in Lebanon. There is no such ‘wasta’ and the certification bodies, if ever, who hand out ISO in counterpart for money don’t last very long; there exists an accreditation body that governs all certification bodies, and those aren’t made in Lebanon, those don’t joke with such fallacies.
    Companies like SGS, Bureau Veritas, TUV,.. operating in Lebanon have international standards to follow themselves and a too big of a reputation to simply hand out certifications if a business doesn’t conform.

    Regards,
    A respected ISO auditor

    Reply
  9. 100% true.

    “That is a standard I trust, not some shady ministry measure aimed purely to create a scandal and boost a minister’s popularity.”

    Reply
  10. A very weak article…maybe the writer could state the facts he wasted our time to read his blablabla on.
    Just another worthless nonsense oposition…even if the minister brought sick people and the bad food and a full equiped laboratory and prove the issue, Someone for political or secteral or “blind-minded” reasons will write a similar article and surely will have some clapping people.
    This peice is empty of facts from the first word till the very end.

    Reply
    • Hi Zaher. This piece has more facts than the minister’s press conference. Just saying.

      Also, I love it how when you ask questions, people like you will assume it’s because people like me have a vendetta against the minister. I couldn’t care less about him, what I care about is him doing his job, which with yesterday’s press conference he was not actually doing. Instead, he was acting unprofessionally, but it seems you like that. Different strokes and all that.

      At least I’m giving you the courtesy of not assuming you are one of Faour’s PR team.

      Reply
  11. Yes, ISO 22000 is a very strict standard and the ones who implement it should theoretically be “safe”
    But the auditing/certification bodies are not always objective. Why? Because if they are too strict their customers will go look for more easy-going certification bodies, so this means that they are loosing a 6000$ contract (minimum)
    The best policy would be to have inspectors from the ministry of health to audit the restaurants. But those inspectors should have good salaries that will prevent them from accepting bribes.
    We are soooo far from reaching this point. And it’s very sad. Bribery is everywhere and is getting everyone certificates and licenses they do not deserve

    Reply
    • Replying to the ISO auditor. Trust me, I have been in this field since 2010 and th companies I worked for often got certified when non-conformities were found and the auditor would tell me “this is a non-conformity but I won’t report it”

      Reply
      • Dear Caroline,

        Thanks for your reply. I do believe the smaller companies will overlook some non-conformities in order to rake in money; but again I would like to ascertain those companies have to answer to an accreditation body who, if found major non-conformities that have been overlooked, will take action against those certification bodies; I’ve seen many smaller companies close following legal action taken against them (in the region, not only Lebanon).
        Now, being an auditor and stating observations, you have to keep in mind this is purely judgmental and depends on many factors such as the maturity level of the environment being audited defined by an international standard for capability maturity models (CMM), we might downgrade minor non-conformities to observations if proper roadmaps are shown by the entity, bearing in mind such certification’s scope is renewable in full every 3 years and clear deadline have to be presented in such roadmap and adhered to; if found as re-certification (or surveillance audit if agreed so) to an unchanged state the ISO will be withdrawn.

        I could dwell on and on but we’d be drifting away from the topic at hand 🙂

        Regards,

        Reply
    • I have received 759 dinners as well as $53,000 from Roadster.

      Hallab has also given me 750kilos of baklava and unlimited knefe.

      Life has been heaven! ❤

      /sarcasm (in case you probably don't get it).

      Reply
      • hehe no i got it hilariously funny i couldn’t have thought about it myself, i’m sure not as funny as people getting into hospital everyday from restaurants taking people well being as granted,
        i didn’t know you do disaster recovery for restaurants btw
        oh and this is not sarcasm (L)(F)

        Reply
        • Actually I’m a medical student, and unless you are one as well, I suggest you decrease your know-it-all attitude regarding admissions to hospitals because of food.

          And no, this is not sarcasm.

          Reply
  12. Anon, just a small reply to show that you are wrong….
    please pass by my work one day to show you how i can BUY the Bureau Veritas Guy when he is doing the Inspection.
    Reputation my ass, you are in Lebanon dear.

    Reply
    • Jamil If you’re talking about mentalities and professionalism of individuals, many can be “bought” especially in a fluctuating market such as the Lebanese one and I do agree on that statement.
      I was discussion a broader corporate level process that you completely missed apparently, and as long as end-users such as yourself believe they can buy their way into excellence the country isn’t going anywhere sadly.

      Regards,

      Reply
  13. This article is very unreasonable, yet non scientific, you have no facts to revoke what was done by the ministry of health. Your are questioning doctors, labs, hospitals without any number fo statistical test to prove anything. So please, even though we know there is corruption/bad management in this country don’t place comments when a right cause is invoked against the big restaurants/food suppliers governing the food markets. Don’t question labs unless you have proofs this is science man you fight it with science and not empty words, based on a feelings you got when you were waking around. So for the first time respect what is said and without pragmatic answer, keep your comments for yourself. Sorry for being rude.

    Reply
  14. I’m glad you’re admitting since you’re a medical student you have this know it all attitude (as per your own saying), which unfortunately was not valid in this article, domage.. yet Peekaboo i’m a red cross volunteer, yeah the one who gets you business.
    Unbelievable what few bucks can do, take some rest champ, you missed this one big time, i would advise you to start some disaster management for your own blog.
    Bon Appetit!

    Reply
    • I was actually referring to you, but it’s okay, I didn’t have my hopes about you getting it anyway.

      I’m amused you think I’m getting paid. Think that all you want, it’ll just keep on amusing me. At least I still haven’t made you out to be a “<3 Faour" person.

      It's interesting that asking a few very valid questions can elicit a "you've been bought" response. Goes to show how wide some people's maturity spans.

      Reply
  15. ISO certification does not always mean good quality. If you research it well, it does not focus on the quality planning and improvement, as it does focus on the quality assurance. Obtaining the ISO focuses on paperwork and regulations rather than applying the true procedures and tools of quality control.
    Many companies with the ISO certification do not meet the quality standards. So bragging about it will not help these restaurants. They have in fact crossed some quality limits, and thus are not taking any regard concerning the customer’s health.
    Minister Faour actually pointed out what most of (if not all) the precedent ministers “failed” to do in this corrupted country. Let’s give him credit for that, and spread some awareness.

    Reply
  16. From the title i was expecting an article that details how the procedure used is irrelevant, or the tests used inconclusive. Instead i am wasting my time on a subjective article filled with argumentative fallacies and that brings no useful data to the table. Even your responses to comments are empty of supportive data, your arguments are mostly ad-hominem, with some attempts of appeal to authority (and not the finest of authorities i would say). I am disappointed.

    Reply
    • That would be impossible because the minister didn’t remotely address the procedure, tests and whatnot that you were hoping I discredit.

      I fail to see how asking the necessary questions in the midst of such a “scandal” is subjective, especially when those questions are also asked by many.

      I also fail to see how my arguments are attacking Faour in person, rather than the approach he used for the matter in question.

      You can be disappointed all you want. I, on the other hand, am proud of the little ripple this has helped to cause. Haven’t you heard? There could be a follow up conference soon.

      Reply
  17. It is your right to be proud, and happy. Most Lebanese are proud, and relatively happy. And look at the state of the country. So, how you feel is irrelevant.

    If your goal is just to rant and add to the existing plethora of ill written articles, then you have achieved your goal.
    My pointing out that your article is essentially bigoted is not to criticize you, but rather to push you to realize that when criticizing someone you have to act better than them. In this case, showing more data & being more objective.
    On the other hand, the fact that you are criticizing/questioning an official’s work is great, and i wish more people did that. BUT in a more structured and reasonable fashion.

    And for your sake, drop the childish/arab/macho-man/godcomplexed attitude of “you can be disappointed all you want” it does not bring any constructive elements to the table, and sounds kinda silly.

    Reply
    • I fail to see how this constitutes a rant when the only thing taking place here is essentially asking a few necessary questions about the process that led to the MOH doing what it did.

      I would have loved to throw the names of bacteria and lab techniques around, but as the MOH has not revealed the standards upon which it judged the samples, the way the samples were obtained, the conditions in which they were stored, etc… Then, alas, we are all in for a disappointment.

      The point of this post was to essentially say that by doing what it did, the MOH has messed up because they have not done so and so.

      I also fail to see how I was not objective. I am not siding with the restaurants. I have not defended them against the results. What I did was pose questions around their naming and shaming, questions that I found were necessary to be asked.

      If you think all of the above is bigoted, subjective and whatnot, then I suppose we have a divergence on principle.

      Reply
    • 1000% i agree with every word. ranting ranting and more ranting with 0 added value. if this blog site was a public company, its shares would go below zero lol

      Reply
  18. lol…so when the government does its work and makes a public announcement for our own health, we criticize the government and complain. Yet when the government is absent and doesn’t do its job, we also complain: wein el dawleh.

    There is nothing wrong with what mr. faour said. He is a minister. not a bell boy. there is a ministry of health working, not a nightclub. he wouldnt do this unprecedented public announcement if it wasnt based on credible and scientific procedures…and ur blog post adds no value at all as it brings nothing new and it doesnt disprove what the minister said. its simply a nag. such a waste of time to even read it

    Reply
  19. mate, read the article “[…]What this will be is a rant[…]”.
    You are asking questions, sure. But you are also jumping to conclusions by saying “Mr. Faour’s press conference was yet […] you should eat and where you shouldn’t.” implying that the ministry did not do serious tests, or that their tests are flawed or that the labs are basically unprofessional.
    And then you go on to “back” your claim with how miserable the state hospitals are. And rebutting the list by appealing to ISO22000 etc…

    I know what the point is, however you have gone beyond the point to draw hasty conclusions based on pure speculations. the key takeaways from this article are “the minister is a twat, and it is highly likely the list is worthless”

    What I am saying is, even though you might be right, and it might be that those restaurants are victims (well some at least), and even though it might be that the minister is a twat, and that the whole thing is a sham; it is however considered bad practice and bad journalism to attack someone based on speculations.

    It would have been a good article had it stopped at asking the ministry “What are the criteria/test/standards used to get this list?” and criticize the lack of transparency. And perhaps adding that it is irresponsible to not be more transparent on similar matters.

    For all you know, the ministry might have used valid tests, with knowledgable staff, following valid protocols.

    I would have called the ministry and inquired about the list, and the tests etc… as a citizen you have the right to inquire and be informed.

    Reply
    • I don’t mind that the ministry ends up being right. If anything, I welcome it. They should have at least prepared their press conference in a way to be foul proof over the kind of speculation that we are discussing here. That’s the entire point. I am not jumping to conclusions. I am merely asking questions, and I don’t see any conclusion apart from asking those who read this to maybe look at the list with caution.

      I did not back my claim with how miserable state hospitals are. I was making a statement that those places he is heading are worse than that list he is parading around as a sign that his ministry is doing a good job.

      Reply
  20. Jeez! What is wrong with people thw whole point of this blogpost is to critisize the way he made such public news without shedding light on the types of bacteria or whatsover the ministry found in these tests.

    Reply
  21. What about al maslakh( the main source of meat)?
    And what about the report made on Lbc and Mtv about the contamination at almaslakh

    Reply
  22. You started your “Article” saying that this isn’t about Roadster or Hallab, finishing it by talking about the ISO 22000 and pointing towards it, which only those 2 establishments have it, which is kind of contradictory…

    About the ISO 22000, clearly you did not do any research to know that it’s a food safety MANAGEMENT SYSTEM! You do not have to provide samples from your food periodically to maintain the ISO certification, all you have to do is to implement a management system within your establishment. You can be selling shit for all they care as long as this shit is handled properly.

    The “Hallab” that has the ISO 22000 is not the same one mentioned in the press conference.

    Maybe you missed the part… sorry, partS where the minister actually stated the standards that these restaurants failed to meet, you might also have missed the parts where he also stated that what he is talking about are particular products. You even missed the part when he talked about kababji, that “they are his friends” and he said again that “all other products are safe except the one stated, unfortunately”. maybe you missed the entire press conference!

    Ministry standards will be provided upon request, but I believe you are just an amateur blogger who likes exposure by writing and criticizing, rather than doing a correct journalistic job by calling the ministry and asking them about the standards? hey but you are a medical student, far away from being a journalist, so you better stick to your job, I don’t think anybody takes you seriously, and you should actually listen to those who criticized you, they all gave hints on how to do your blogging correctly the next time.

    According to your own standards, your blog is far, far, way far, and I mean light years far away worse than the minister’s press conference. Again according to your own standards!

    Oh by the way… it’s “Customers” not “Costumers”. So much for a medical student!

    Reply
  23. You started your “Article” saying that this isn’t about Roadster or Hallab, finishing it by talking about the ISO 22000 and pointing towards it, which only those 2 establishments have it, which is kind of contradictory…

    About the ISO 22000, clearly you did not do any research to know that it’s a food safety MANAGEMENT SYSTEM! You do not have to provide samples from your food periodically to maintain the ISO certification, all you have to do is to implement a management system within your establishment. You can be selling shit for all they care as long as this shit is handled properly.

    The “Hallab” that has the ISO 22000 is not the same one mentioned in the press conference.

    Maybe you missed the part… sorry, partS where the minister actually stated the standards that these restaurants failed to meet, you might also have missed the parts where he also stated that what he is talking about are particular products. You even missed the part when he talked about kababji, that “they are his friends” and he said again that “all other products are safe except the one stated, unfortunately”. maybe you missed the entire press conference!

    Ministry standards will be provided upon request, but I believe you are just an amateur blogger who likes exposure by writing and criticizing, rather than doing a correct journalistic job by calling the ministry and asking them about the standards? hey but you are a medical student, far away from being a journalist, so you better stick to your job, I don’t think anybody takes you seriously, and you should actually listen to those who criticized you, they all gave hints on how to do your blogging correctly the next time.

    According to your own standards, your blog is far, far, way far, and I mean light years far away worse than the minister’s press conference. Again according to your own standards!

    Oh by the way… it’s “Customers” not “Costumers”. So much for a medical student!

    Reply
    • Chris,

      There’s no need to post the comment multiple times. Only once will suffice.

      1) It’s a typo. It happens when you’re using wordpress for mobile. You might want to check it out sometimes. Do you need an AppStore link?

      2) There are other establishments that have ISO on the list (Kababji), and I was merely mentioning Roadster and Hallab because they were the two people were most talking about at the time of the announcement. But you can assume I’m getting paid all you want.

      3) The Hallab that was mentioned is Abdul Rahman Al Hallab. It is the same “green” one that has ISO certification.

      4) ISO standards are clear. The ones employed by the ministry, well, who knows what those are?

      5) I have addressed your 4th paragraph extensively already, so I will refrain from copy/pasting. You might as well copy/paste the minister all you want, it does not affect the point I have set forth in this post in any way whatsoever.

      6) I find it odd that a big ass press conference somehow lacked a detailed discussion of how the process of “naming and shaming” the restaurants in question came to be, when that’s the most important aspect. But, you know, since I like “exposure by writing and criticizing,” I wouldn’t know. Being a Lebanese citizen allows me to ask the questions I have put forth in the article you have spent the time writing, and preparing a verbose response to.

      7) To each their own. I happen to be quite proud of my blog, and this post, and the response it has garnered. At least people are talking, and not swallowing the MOH’s words like candy without looking at it from any critical eye.

      Reply
  24. Oh! I like the point and numbering system, makes thing so much easier.

    1) Yes I was correcting your “Typo”. so, you do rely on auto-correct to correct your sentences, not a shame in that, we all do. But it bother’s me that you are a type of human who does have the know-it-all attitude, that’s childish. Men and professionals are not afraid of acknowledging an error they make and apologizing, then correcting. The fact that this typo was the first thing that caught my eye is a proof that you wrote your article without thinking twice, without even double-checking what you wrote.

    2) Kababji has the ISO? I don’t think they do. Do you have any proof about that? Just to be sure from my side? I never assumed that you are getting paid. Nobody will pay you for such a weak article! I was just saying that you are presenting contradictory information, which is a reason why I said that your article is worthless and worse than the minister’s press conference according to your standards.

    3) No. By a statement of “Amer Al-Hallab” one of the Hallab owners. The statement was through a call with An-nahar newspaper. Please double check your info first.

    4) You have a problem with missing parts don’t you? YES ISO standards ARE CLEAR and I said what the standards are! please read the paragraph again. The ones employed by the minister are also clear “The presence of one or several specific Bactria” that he mentioned, how can that not be clear!

    5) I thought you needed a reminder, since you are an expert of not understanding what the minister and the majority of the people who replied including me are telling you. And you are still not understanding!

    6) Again. God I have never repeated myself so much in my life! The process of “Naming and Shaming” the restaurants came into action after taking product samples from a huge number of establishments, performing tests and finding specific bacteria in those samples. If you have any doubt about the scientific results or tests you can always call the ministry and ask questions, use your title as a blogger, internet activist, journalist. I don’t know how seriously they will take you.

    7) Good for you! But no one is waiting for you to wake up! We are not stupid, and you are not the only one who sees the light. But it is not healthy and smart to question everything, sometimes there is truth much more than there is lies in the places that you do not expect. Living paranoid about conspiracy theories is not a good thing.

    One more thing, NOBODY will take care of your food like you do. Except maybe your mom! and that’s a fact!

    I am sorry, I was generous enough to give you of my time with the first reply and now in the second reply. I am not in a position to argue with you, I have no benefit as I was not in a position to defend the minister or anybody.
    I simply criticized your writing and blogging approach, I have nothing to add, more arguing will prove that you did not understand what I said. It’s either you accept what I said and take it into consideration or just ignore and consider that i’m an idiot and do not know what i’m talking about. The choice you take is what defines your intellect.

    Reply
  25. Discussion is healthy.
    Each and every person who has commented has a point.
    The MOH is also right and no-one is flawless in his/her approach.
    However Elie, the language you used in your article is inappropriate. Nobody will ever take you seriously when you don’t use formal language ( or call the minister by his last name only) even when being extremely sarcastic or angry.
    Typos and language mistakes are a common thing. Each and every comment listed above contains around 2-3 spelling or grammar mistakes so no need to mention them as they are besides the point/topic of discussion.
    Besides all that, all the people who commented took time to read your article and commented on it so you should at least thank them and accept their remarks even if they are wrong. After all, everything is relative.
    Cheers!

    Reply
  26. I agree with everything said here. I don’t get how people are finding the language to be a problem. If anything, I think it’s even subdued. You could have gone all Gino Raidy with “fuck you”s and still be under representing the issue. Thank you for speaking what many people around this country are saying and doing it very well. Negative commentators are usually the ones who we more vocal, but you have 3000 shares on Facebook so look at how many people think you have a point!

    Reply
  27. Stumbled upon this through Facebook, thanks for the read!

    It is refreshing to read a response that is different from what you referred to as “naming and shaming”, for as a community, we are tired of hearing opinions that ride the rage wave and further feed it. However, when you want to play the role of the devil’s advocate, considerable research to back your facts is absolutely essential for accuracy, credibility and well, avoiding receiving a comment like this one.

    Your doubts and questions are in place, more availability of information is always desirable but logically speaking, not always feasible. I can infer from your article that you are not very involved in the field of food safety and quality control, lucky for you, I am! Allow me to help you with your inquiries to the best of my abilities:

    The results are compared to international standards mostly that, to summarize, have come a long long way into becoming the applied standards they are today. That should take care of any doubts you might have regarding their validity.

    Unfortunately I cannot help you with your inquiries on the whats hows and whos of the testing and authenticating since I watched the same conference you did. It seems though that through your questions you are questioning the legitimacy of the results, even worse, the existence of a problem at all! I am curious, do you really think there is no “flaw” (major understatement) in our food safety system? Doesn’t the recurrence of this topic over and over wave any red flag at all?

    Finally, you threw the “ISO 22000” bomb. The use of a combination of letters and numbers to sophisticate this whole discussion is a smart way to address people who most probably have limited knowledge in this field (understandably as our community is not familiar with its own safety rights). Clarification; ISO 22000 is not the only way to go, in fact there are less complicated systems and practices that serve the same purpose more or less that is producing safe food for consumers. Compared to 10 years back, many establishments are venturing for the ISO and HACCP certificates today, however some are not being renewed and some, sadly, can be bought for the right sum of money. C’est Liban!

    I agree full on, our ministries are not the epitomes of professionalism and standardization but that doesn’t mean we need to shame those who try change matters for the better. I don’t know why this reminds of Law 174, “why bother with a law about smoking when there is no clean water, electricity and excess pollution to begin with?” Well back to this, reform is not a switch we can turn on, we need to start somewhere and we have to support all efforts being made in that direction.

    Minister Bou Faour’s transparency, despite the ever prevailing political and economic pressures that usually dictate the operation of this country, should be saluted. Publicity stunt or not, I do not care so long the progress and reform is truly sought after this time, as he repeatedly promised.

    We all know that establishments shape their operations according to their consumers’ needs. If the people don’t demand their right to safe food, establishments will not put in the extra effort and cost to provide any. So as a matter of fact, I very much support this “big ass conference”, I am hoping it will be the defibrillator to this cardiac-ally arrested community.

    Reply
  28. I don’t understand why you think it is so impossible that a few restaurants in Lebanon have salmonella and E. coli in their food products. It is very easy to get fecal matter and bacteria multiplies really quickly. It is very easy to do the assay to measure the content of fecal material and different types of bacteria. Inadequate handling of food, storage, how long it was left at room temperature, how sterile and clean the kitchen is. I can’t understand your unreasonable attack on the ministry? Are you doubting the way the assays were done? As in how the technician and the lab measured the content of the food? That has nothing to do with the minister if the labs messed up, but come one, give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t teach everyone how to do their jobs, unless you have proof that this lab is corrupt and falsifies data.

    Reply
  29. Whats your problem people… A respected minister has given you info on what is making people sick, in our food, yet you shoot him down and accuse him of playing a political game? Seriously?
    If you love these rotten restaurants so much then keep eating there… I know I wont!

    Reply
  30. Oh! Don’t we all remember the big fuss with Marcel Ghanem about meat and different food issues when he brought lab nutritionists from aub or so? They did the same procedure of getting samples, testing them and then stating the amount of e-coli / salmonella… in each or whatever X composant that should be between a “known” range and the “famous labneh” component that was tested whether “acceptable” or not???
    I don’t really understand! Are we all experts in laboratory science n standards or should we all question every person doing his role?
    Most families have expatriates in first world countries and i bet most get sick from eating in common restaurants in leb during their visit. If not from food, water. I personally was taken to e.r. From havin a burger from an international fast food rest. To avoid bad publicity we directly reported to the manager. But we cant always keep things shut. At least let the gov do its role.

    Reply
  31. first i agree with you about how insignificant and unprofessional this media stunt was. Not showing any scientific evidence or standard references to base your test on . In the End Labs need to compare the results found with a standard, and there should be a protocol to follow.

    But on the other side , i am an IRCA Qualified ISO Quality management Lead Auditor, although its not similar to the 22000:2005 food safety management systems Iso, but this certificate and even if any restaurant has it, it does not guarantee the quality of the food provided every day.
    its just a way to certify that restaurant ” X” is following the standard procedures and requirements by ISO in terms of food safety ( procurement , storage,production, preserving, cooking etc…) and most importantly that the restaurant is following a certain process that is written and documented.
    The standard has been designed to cover all the processes along the food chain that deal directly or indirectly with the end product being consumed. It brings everybody along the food chain under a single food safety management umbrella, making it easier to train, implement and audit the management of food safety at every level of the food chain.
    After the issuance of the Certification from the 3rd party auditor proving that there is a conformity to all iso Standards, there are surveillance audits that are done around 1-3 times a year , but the minimum is once a year.now does that guarantee that everyday or every week a restaurant is following the procedures , norms and standards set? nop.

    Reply
  32. I understand what you are trying to say. The guy has a good point since the MOH didn’t provide further information about the procedure. For example, Al Hallab claimed that the ministry took the Ashta in the car (no freezer) to the lab. Surly the ashta will end up getting spoiled in the car, and the results will be as they were shown. Faour should have given extra information about the process so a conflict like this would have never occurred. (Plz correct me if he did give information about the procedure)

    Reply
  33. I read the article and I saw part of the conference of Abou Faour.
    I’ll give him credit for caring about the Lebanese health as every summer when I visit I get food poisoning.
    But let’s talk beyond that, our country doesn’t provide neither electricity nor clean water in the first place, both factors being needed for a good hygiene.
    So I really don’t know who to blame or what to say.. I see people’s comments and how opinions are split and I think people have no trust anymore in the intentions or deeds of any of our political figures.., even if they were good intentions..
    And you are right!!

    Reply
  34. Pingback: Faut-il faire le deuil du journalisme d’investigation au Liban ? | Afikra 2.0

  35. Any ISO certification registers how a product is made ,and it should be made same way same quality, if you make a poisoned product ISO certification accepts the product and askes the manufacturer to make it Poisoned every time, but no more poisoned or less poisoned same standard as previous, ISO certification is a quality control to make sure that all products are made with a standard procedure, Good or Bad commestible or not it’s another issue.

    Reply
  36. To be very honest you just seem a little butt-hurt but that’s just me talking. I have relatives that work in quite a few of the places listed up top and well the restaurants aren’t exactly reputed for their cleanliness. I’m not currently living in Lebanon anymore and for that I do thank God cause only after food abroad did i actually realize how poor the food quality is there.

    Reply
  37. First of all do we have parliament who care about our Health…. off-course not there is more
    important things to be busy with … how to destroy Lebanon it means no body gives a dam
    for our health…. Chairs and this belong to who and this belong what party is more important
    (CHAIRS) my friends (Chairs).

    and to Charbel sorry but there is one thing i couldn’t remain silent about it when you thank god that your not living in Lebanon because of food …..shame really my friend to say
    that i understand that we have allot of darkness who trigger us to leave for better future
    but let me tell you we have the holy land on earth LEBANON the heaven everything water,
    the best taste fruits ohhh you tell me and nature Grace the lord… Lebanese Cousins there is
    no one no country no kitchen is better….

    i’v been in 30 Country in my Life base on my job i Travel allot as i live in between NY & Manila since 12 years i never ever ever thank god for being out of Lebanon and i never ever seen more dirty then other countries Restaurants or even the taste or the bizarre food they eat and lets not talk abroad my friend and stick in our own local cause yes the abroad your talking about is not better or cleaner at all you never seen in your eyes you never seen the hidden stuff you even might not be aware what are you eating you appreciating abroad food? ahahha funny really dude! .. LOVE Your country wither dirty food wither not be proud your a Lebanese whatever is your religion too be proud just be proud and i hope i go back to Lebanon and die in Lebanon and i will tell you this where is the prove about it the test base on what? believe it or not it will appear
    in the end who pays unlisted who don’t check out 🙂 come on Watch TLC TV world better living
    they have OWN SHOW ABOUT LEBANESE FOOD AND RESTAURANTS that’s one of the biggest channel about Tourism Living Food and Cultures.

    We are here to share and try to support and build our country not to compare it with other Countries I love to eat the unhealthy Lebanese Resto food services better then Abroad at least it comes from my Own not from Abroad ……………… LOVE LEBANON

    Great Site!

    Best Regards
    Marios Mazen Rizk

    Reply
  38. Pingback: 13 Lebanese That Made It Big In 2014 | A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

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