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Saudi authorities destroy 58 tonnes of unsafe food

Saudi authorities destroy 58 tonnes of unsafe food

The items were confiscated during inspections of food establishments and vehicles entering Makkah

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have confiscated and destroyed more than 58 tonnes of food and other items deemed unsafe for pilgrims.

The announcement comes as at kingdom enters peak Hajj season, with more than 1.65 million pilgrims welcomed to date.

The Saudi Food and Drug authority said through inspections of 738 food establishments in Al-Madinah, Al-Munawwarah and Makkah it had found 729 health and technical violations and seized 39.3 tonnes of foodstuffs.

The authority also ordered six establishments to be closed.

During the last week, inspectors allowed 10,325 medical and food items held by pilgrims arriving through King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah, Jeddah Islamic Port and the new ports of Arar, Ammar, Al Batha and Al-Wadi to enter the country.

A total of 705 pharmaceutical, food and medical items were confiscated for being expired, controlled, unknown or in commercial quantities.

In addition, inspectors at the main entrances of Makkah discovered 18.8 tonnes of food items and 1,855 litres of food unsuitable for human use across 4,381 vehicles. Of these 28 vehicles were seized and transferred to the Secretariat of the Holy City for further action.

Yesterday, the General Directorate of Passports said it had also fined and imprisoned eight citizens and residents for transporting pilgrims illegally.

Read: Saudi citizen fined SAR270,000 for illegally transporting pilgrims

The five-day Hajj ritual is a once-in-a-lifetime religious duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. Pilgrims retrace the route Prophet Mohammad took 14 centuries ago in what is the largest annual gathering of Muslims.

The 2017 Hajj season saw more than 2.35 million pilgrims converge on Makkah including 1.75 million from outside Saudi Arabia.

Read: In pics: Hajj 2017 ends, more than 2.35m pilgrims take part

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