Category Archives: Lebanon

What Could غير مطابق Mean?

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kol via Al Jomhouria

Public Health Minister Wael Bou Faour published a new list of “bad” restaurants and supermarkets today but we have yet to see the full report upon which these checks were conducted. Just to make myself clear, I am fully supportive of this initiative but I don’t agree with the approach that the minister has taken. The businesses that were found guilty and the Lebanese have the right to know everything related to this scandal and what how severe is every violation. Stating that a specific item at a reputable chain or supermarket is “غير مطابق” could mean a million things and not giving further details could harm a restaurant’s reputation and scare away customers for the wrong reasons.

Moreover, I am very surprised that he hasn’t released the full list and is giving out few names every 2 or 3 days. What’s the point of that? Why focus on few names and leave the rest for later? If he wants his campaign to be successful, he should be scientific and professional about it. In all cases, everyone is still waiting for the full report if it will ever be released.

In order to illustrate better what I mean, check out Elyse Abdel Massih‘s take on this matter and the example she gave of what a “غير مطابق” chicken breast could mean:

To help better illustrate this, i’ll give a short example of how a simple chicken breast might be evaluated by the ministry and for the sake of argument lets forgo for now any potential responsibility of the suppliers who actually provide the chicken to their client restaurants and supermarkets.

1- Did the restaurant follow the right checklist for each item received to make sure that the received item is up to the health standard? (Expiry date, quantity, description of item, temperature, clean, odor, color, refrigerated…) ?
2- Did the restaurant have these sections available: cold section, dry stores, vegetable section, pastry lab, dishwashing, central kitchen?
3- If all sections are available are they also efficiently separated?
4- Was the refrigerator temperature the right one? Were the items in it separated properly? (The chicken always goes below the meat but never above)
5- Were the defrosting, cutting, knives clean and not used on other products? Separating chicken from meat? Water used to clean it also clean?
6- How about ambient room temperature, location, and the windows were they opened or closed? (They are not allowed to be open)
7- What about surrounding chemical hazards?( Strong perfumes , pesticides..)
8- Was there control of worker personal hygiene in place? (Health, hair, nails, shoes..)
9- Was there a risk of cross contamination? (It occurs when bacteria cross from food to food, hand to food or equipment to food)

Any point or all of them may have led to the stamp of “غير مطابق” or ”Not compliant” .

The ministry of health should publish the list of restaurants with explanation of what wasn’t up to the standard to avoid causing major reputation damage and mass panic.

If the mistake wasn’t a major one (transferring salmonella is way different than placing chicken above meat or forgetting a hairnet) the inspectors of ministry of health are obliged to take immediate actions on the spot before going public. Isn’t that what inspectors do?

PS: Elyse Abdel Massih is dietitian with experience and knowledge in food service

London’s ‘Gherkin’ Tower Sold To Lebanese-Brazilian Billionaire Joseph Safra

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Joseph Safra is presumably the richest banker in the world and is the top ranked Lebanese in the world’s richest Arabs list.

The Safra Group bought the Gherkin for a bit over 1 Billion Dollars.

London’s Gherkin skyscraper has been sold to investment giant the Safra Group in a deal reportedly worth £726m. BBC News spoke to a consultancy firm ahead of the sale to gauge how much the capital’s iconic skyline might now be worth.

It is estimated that 10 of the buildings that make up the city’s world-renowned skyline could be worth more than £7.2bn ($11.4bn). [BBC]


Quick Review: Dumb and Dumber To

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I don’t know how many of you remember the original “Dumb and Dumber” that was released back in 1994, but it was hilarious and a huge success. The prequel “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” that went out in 2003 and didn’t include Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels was a complete disaster though and I wasn’t expecting any new sequel after that, unless both original actors agreed to take part in it and that’s what happened.

“Dumb and Dumber To” brings back Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, aka Lloyd and Harry as they try to convince people 20 years later that “if they each had half a brain, together they would still only have half a brain”. It’s a fun movie to watch and if you liked the randomness of the first movie, you will not be disappointed with this one.

Did The Ministry Of Health Inspect Beirut’s Public Slaughterhouse?

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I posted this video a year ago. Compassion in World Farming visited the Karantina Slaughterhouse and were shocked by what’s happening there. Since the Ministry of Health is launching a food safety campaign, it would be a great idea to start with the Beirut Slaughterhouse where most of the restaurants in Lebanon get their meat from.

“The slaughterhouse is chaos. Everything is coated in a layer of blood, faeces and body parts. The slaughter area is heaving with people, live animals and slaughtered bodies. The sounds and smells are overwhelming.

Men grab defenceless sheep by the fleece or back leg. They fall to their knees and are forcefully dragged, one by one, to the slaughter line. Cattle are dragged by ropes around their necks. When they try to resist restraint they are yelled at and beaten viciously with metal rods. The animals are visibly terrified and in their frantic attempts to escape they slip, trip and fall, slamming their heads into the concrete floor.

Groups of sheep are forced to jump over dead bodies and wide gutters full of blood. They desperately try to force their way away from the bodies of other sheep they have just watched being slaughtered. Cows are left suspended fully-conscious by one leg for long periods of time, their faces resting in pools of other animals’ blood. They watch animals being slaughtered all around them. I wonder if they realize it will soon be their turn?”


The Ethiopian Worker Who Jumped Off The Fourth Floor Is Recovering And Will Be Fine

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I am sure you all saw the video of the Ethiopian housekeeper who tried to commit suicide in Salim Salam. Well the good news is that she did not die and is recovering at the hospital right now. Unfortunately though, we still don’t know why she decided to jump as her employer is denying the fact that he didn’t book an airline ticket for her to go back home.

As I mentioned earlier, this is all due to the Kafala system which should be dropped once and for all in Lebanon. Lebanese families should no longer be allowed to treat foreign workers as their slaves by confiscating their passports, refusing to pay them and keeping them in the house.

Once Berkotan recovers, she will go back home to her family.

Health Minister Wael Bou Faour Issues A list of Lebanon’s Violating Supermarkets And Restaurants

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Health Minister Bou Faour confirmed to all the Lebanese today that the food they are eating is full of diseases and issued a list of restaurants and supermarkets that do not meet the proper health and hygiene conditions. The minister said that violating restaurants will be warned and fines will be forced.

Personally speaking, I love the initiative and I really hope that this won’t be a temporary campaign but at the same time, I disagree with the minister on publishing at first a list of places without sharing the full study that was conducted and all the information available on that matter. We need to know on which basis was this study conducted, what were the violations and why wasn’t the ministry doing its job in the first place before Bou Faour took charge? Who was responsible back then and who let Natour reopen and sell rotten meat once again? Are the violations all the same? Why weren’t they classified as serious or minor?

Now people will start freaking out and sharing this list blindly because that’s all they know. I mean seriously how the hell is Roadster and Kababji on that list? We all know they are the safest places to eat in Lebanon. And how can Hallab’s Achta in Tripoli be on that list? That’s his source of pride lol!

In all cases, Minister Bou Faour has been done a great job so far and I hope he will clarify this whole matter and explain to the Lebanese people how this study was done and what are the steps being taken to enforce further quality control in Lebanon and make sure what we are eating is safe. The last thing we need is another “Labneh” controversy.

Here’s the full list as compiled by LBCI, noting that Beirut is still missing (Why is that?) and that the violations were related to specific products or items as you can see from the picture at the bottom.

Metn District:
Bedo Restaurant
Kababji Restaurant
Roadster Diner
Zohrab Butchery
Tannouri Supermarket
Al-Achkar Supermarket
Massoud Supermarket
McDonalds Restaurant
Maneea Farms Organization
Khawli Supermarket
Sultan Butchery
Metro Supermarket
Nassar Supermarket
Marche Du Rond Point
TSC Megamarket
Mazloum Organization
Broummana Market

Byblos District:
Hawa Chicken
Spinneys Supermarket
Supermarket Jbeil

Nabatieh District:
Rammal Restaurant

Kesserwan District:
Fahd Supermarket

Tripoli District:
Crepina Restaurant
Dar al-Amar Restaurant
Shay W Assal Restaurant
Baytna Restaurant
Albdel Rahman Hallab Sweets/Restaurant
Makiyyeh Restaurant

Aley District:
Hawa Chicken
MP Supermarket

Baabda District:
Metro Supermarket
Poule D’or
Aamiliya Restaurant

Shouf District:
Racheed Moussa Stores
Ghanem Stores
Rayyan Stores
Bou Khalil Supermarket

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Uber Beirut Offering Free Rides This Week!

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I love Uber and I use it all the time when I don’t feel like driving to events in Beirut. The drivers are extremely friendly, always on time and very professional, the cars are super cool and the service is impeccable. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and try them as they are offering free uberX rides from Thursday November 13th till Sunday November 16th.

Here’s how to claim your free rides:

- Enter the promo code “FREEWEEKBEY” in the Promotions tab of your app to unlock your FREE rides
– Take FREE rides between 1am on Thursday (11/13) through 11:59pm on Sunday (11/16)
– Maximum of 10 rides per user. Each ride is covered up to $20
– If the total fare of your “free” trip exceeds $20, the credit card on file will be charged with the difference
– Free rides valid on “uberX” trips only so make sure you select the uberX view on the bottom of your map
– If you’re not signed up to Uber yet, download the app and register here

The app is available for [Android] and [iOS]. You can also get estimates of the fares [Here].