File - A bakery in an area north of Beirut. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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The recent scandal over potentially contaminated wheat again highlighted the failure to replace the Central Laboratory, which closed in 2007, an issue for which some officials claim no intention to rectify exists. Created by a law in late 1950s, the Central Laboratory had three departments responsible for carrying out tests on medicine, water and food, as well as disease control tests on germs, parasites and tissues, former MP Dr. Ismail Sukkarieh explained.Each area had its own hospitals where they tried to work on [these issues]," Khalifeh told The Daily Star, adding that the lab was also responsible for assessing industrial and agricultural exports.He insisted that he tried to revive the facility during his term as health minister from 2004, but explained that the decentralization meant that afterward there was considerable overlap in duties as other institutions had taken on some of the roles of the Central Laboratory. Health Minister Wael Abu Faour raised the lack of a Central Laboratory last week when he stated that some imported wheat was contaminated.Sukkarieh stood his ground on the matter that a Central Laboratory was vital despite Lebanon having a number of private labs.
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