Inspections intensified to protect public health

Tons of rotten food destroyed in Makkah municipality raids


Saudi Gazette

MAKKAH — Municipality inspectors intensified field visits and surprise raids in several parts of the holy city of Makkah in order to protect public health, officials said.

Inspection teams raided four warehouses at Al-Sharaiyah neighborhood and seized 700 kilograms of rotten food, according to Fahd Al-Bishri, head of the municipality off ice in Al-Sharaiyah district.

All people involved in these illegal operations, who were mostly expatriate workers, were detained and charged with transporting rotten food and selling it to restaurants, he said.

Al-Bishri said the warehouses did not fulfill the minimum requirements of food safety as food was prepared in open air areas that were not clean and were full of mosquitoes and flies.

Of the 700 kg of confiscated food, 200 kg was meat, 350 kg vegetables, 50 kg fish and 80 kg salads. The inspection teams also confiscated rusty kitchen utensils such as plates and knives used in food preparation. The detained workers did not have any health certificates.

The raids reflected the local authorities’ keenness to protect public health and crack down on violators who do not comply with food safety requirements.

The inspection teams work around the clock combing all areas and stores that are related to public health and conduct surprise raids on any suspicious warehouses to protect the health of citizens and expatriate workers.

Al-Bishri urged the general public to report any such violations by calling the hot line number 940 and help the inspection teams eradicate dangerous and negative practices in society and punish the violators whoever they may be.

Inspection teams from Al-Shawqiyah Municipality raided a number of warehouses and confiscated rotten vegetables that were on its way to the market, said Mamdouh Iraqi, head of the municipality branch.

The warehouses were raided after the inspection team grew suspicious about them. Three Asian workers were detained for storing fruit and vegetables in an unhealthy manner in unclean places that were infested with insects. The teams confiscated around 40 big boxes full of rotten fruit and vegetables.

Makkah Municipality inspection teams raided five farms south Makkah and fined their owners for violating hygiene requirements after the crops and water used for irrigation were found to be contaminated, according to Saeed Balubaid, director of Environmental Health Department at the municipality.

The farms were spread over a total area of more than 3,000 sq. meters. The inspection teams took samples of the crops and irrigation water and ran quick tests on them. The results showed that sewage was used to irrigate the crops. The teams destroyed all the crops on the spot.

“We continue to run surprise raids and intensive inspection visits all over the city to eliminate any dangers to the public. We will not tolerate any negative and dangerous practices that disregard public health and take it lightly and will also impose hefty fines and other penalties on all violators,” Balubaid said.

Illigal furniture factory shut down

Municipality inspectors closed down a random furniture factory in Al-Hussainiah area where mattresses and other furniture were made.

Iraqi, the head of Al-Shawqiyah Municipality, said the factory was operating without a license and its products did not conform to standards and specifications.

He said old mattresses were covered in new clothes and sold as new products. Iraqi said all the illegal furniture was confiscated and a number of illegal expatriate workers arrested and handed over to the passport police for deportation.