Malak al-Batata restaurant in Hamra, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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From shawarma spots to fine dining restaurants, the Health Ministry's sweeping crackdown on food safety has, at times, been tough to stomach. Establishments cited for hygiene issues are dusting themselves off and moving forward with a stricter eye on safety measures and suppliers. Abdallah Bendakji, owner of Grand Cafe, was told by the Tourism Ministry to update the flooring of his Downtown location. He felt that reports portrayed his restaurant in an unfair light, as he had no food or hygiene violations cited by the Health Ministry. A staff member from the Health Ministry's food safety office, responsible for overseeing inspections and sampling, said that restaurants should inquire with the ministry if they were unclear on the laws. He added that food safety does not begin with restaurants, but rather, the source. While some restaurants are now looking to acquire international food safety certifications, such as ISO 22000, he said that this can't always guarantee food hygiene.
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