Some Egyptian fruit, vegetable imports banned

DEADLY: Contaminated frozen vegetables, such as mulukhiya, spinach, okra and peas, could cause hepatitis A.
Updated 17 September 2016

Some Egyptian fruit, vegetable imports banned

JEDDAH: Importers have revealed that the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has halted import of some vegetables and fruits from Egypt, after tests earlier this year proved they are unsuitable for human consumption.
They pointed out that the SFDA began making notes on agricultural products that come from some countries, including Egypt, before the US Department of Agriculture did.
Traders had to make several contacts with the Egyptian exporting authorities to learn the reasons behind the appearance of such vegetables and fruits, in order to reach compromises to start compensatory measures.
Maher Al-Oqaili, an importer of frozen vegetables, explained that SFDA deals firmly with food imports, although it has agreements with several exporting countries that require safety of health certificates awarded to any food product, especially fruits and vegetables.
This comes at a time when the US Department of Agriculture revealed that laboratory analysis confirmed that some agricultural products were irrigated with sewage water, which contaminated many food items exported by Egypt with human and animal waste.
Materials predominantly used in the burial of the dead were also discovered, according to a report on some of Egypt’s agricultural exported products in the form of frozen vegetables such as mulukhiya, spinach, okra, peas, green beans and artichokes, which are major cause of hepatitis A.
According to the report, the US Department of Agriculture is taking very strict measures with Egyptian imports to prevent the import of strawberries or any Egyptian agricultural products contaminated with sewage.
New strict conditions on frozen vegetables coming from Egypt to the US were set, in addition to calls to wash it with pure and filtered water. Laboratory data confirmed that mango and guava products are exposed to the internationally banned processes of adding color and taste. This could lead to the possibility of causing diseases such as renal failure, liver disease, and adverse effects on blood pressure.
The report is not limited to fruits and vegetables, but also prevents the import of cheese from Egypt after analysis revealed presence of formalin used in preserving dead bodies. The report highlighted the use of white lime, which is used in the installation of tiles, in imported Egyptian rice, which could lead to cancer.

Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 3 min 20 sec ago

Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.