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.


Saudi health minister promises to procure tested COVID-19 vaccine

Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (AP)
Updated 20 October 2020

Saudi health minister promises to procure tested COVID-19 vaccine

JEDDAH: Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah on Monday said the Kingdom will procure vaccine for the novel coronavirus once it is confirmed to be safe and effective.

He said research on the vaccine is underway in a number of countries and the Saudi health authorities are following the developments.
The number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continues to decline in the Kingdom with the recovery rate from the illness rising to 96 percent. The minister attributed the decline on the “commitment to health precautions.”
“I also thank my fellow health practitioners for their wonderful efforts,” Al-Rabiah said.
Commenting on the second and stronger wave of COVID-19 in some countries, he said it was due to a lack of “commitment to social distancing” and failure to wear masks and taking other precautions.
He ruled out any leniency on part of the government in its fight against the virus. The minister said it is necessary to abide by precautionary measures to keep the virus at bay.

FASTFACTS

• Saudi Arabia recorded 381 new infections on Monday.

• With 16 new fatalities, the virus-related death toll has risen to 5,201.

“We (all) are in one boat, and the failure of some affects everyone, so we must work together” to check the spread of the virus.
He also advised people who show COVID-19 symptoms to visit Tetamman (rest assured) clinics.
“Appointments can be made through the ministry’s Sehaty app, and anyone who has any questions or wants to consult a doctor can call 937,” the minister said.
Saudi Arabia recorded 381 new infections on Monday. The total number of COVID-19 cases has reached 348,583 since the beginning of the outbreak in the Kingdom.
The Health Ministry said 16 more people died due to complications caused by the virus raising the death toll to 5,201. The ministry also reported 357 new recoveries. The total number of recovered cases has now increased to 328,895.