Surveys still suck: Temperature awareness in Saudi Arabia

Foodborne diseases are usually caused by consuming foods that are stored at an inappropriate temperature. This study aims to evaluate the knowledge of safe food temperature control among restaurant supervisors of Dammam city, Saudi Arabia.

A cross-sectional study was carried out during January 2019 to May 2019. A close-ended questionnaire was used to assess knowledge and source of information about food temperature control from restaurant supervisors. The response rate of the study was 97 (80.8%). Demographic profile and knowledge scores of restaurant supervisors are reported as percentage. Chi-square test was used to compare group differences in knowledge.  value <0.05 was considered significant. Restaurant supervisors had good knowledge about safe temperature for cold food (93.8%) and storing food in the freezer (83.5%) and in the refrigerator (79.4%), while they had poor knowledge of safe temperature for hot food (14.4%) and the range of temperature in which bacteria grow rapidly (danger zone temperature) in food (15.5%). All restaurant supervisors reported food and environmental inspector as their main source of information about food temperature control. Restaurant supervisors’ education level and place of work showed a significant association with safe temperature for storing food in the refrigerator and the best method to check safe cooking temperature (I have one of those, upper right, in my knapsack, which I take everywhere).

The high percentage of lack in the knowledge of safe temperature control for hot foods and danger zone temperature among restaurant supervisors is of great concern for public health as it exposes the customers to foodborne illnesses. The study results emphasize on the necessity to conduct education and training programs for restaurant supervisors to improve the quality of food served to consumers and protect them from foodborne illnesses and food poisoning.

Knowledge of safe food temperature among restaurant supervisors in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, 12 July 2021

Journal of Food Quality

Mohammed Al-Mohaithef,1 Syed Taha Abidi,2 Nargis Begum Javed,2 Musaad Alruwaili,2 and Amal Yousef Abdelwahed2,3

Authorities shut Mecca restaurant after 18 suffer food poisoning

Gulf News reports 18 people suffered food poisoning after they were served at a famous restaurant in the Saudi holy city of Mecca, prompting authorities to close it down.

Municipal authorities in Mecca shut down the restaurant in line with a related decision from the Ministry of Municipal and Village Affairs that cited a health report blaming the eatery for the incident.

The restaurant has been closed down for one month with a name-to-shame notice posted on its front, saying the shutdown was due to food poisoning.

In recent months, Saudi Arabia has stepped up inspection tours of commercial establishments nationwide to ensure compliance with health rules, including precautions against COVID-19.

Stomp: Off-Broadway Saudi restaurant version

A subscriber sent this in from Saudi Arabia, (and I encourage anyone from our global network of over 75,000 to send in whatever).

bill-murray-lost-in-translationSomething may be lost in translation (that’s Bill Murray pre-dating my Japanese television experience, which was weirdly similar).

This video was taken in the municipality of Bisha, Saudi Arabia, showing a worker at a restaurant who stomps his feet on a bag of meat.

The worker tramples on the meat in this way “to soften a frozen joint of meat” as reported by Bisha Municipality on their Twitter account, and that is has closed the restaurant immediately.

Video below.

Russia, UAE ban Egyptian produce, Saudi lab say frozen berries safe

Rosselkhoznadzor, the state agricultural safety agency, said on Friday that imports of Egyptian plant products will be banned from next Thursday until Egypt’s authorities take steps to ensure their safety.

jeddah_marriott_no_women_signThe move comes after Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, changed its import regulations to ban any ergot fungus in imported wheat.

It had previously accepted 0.05% of it in imported wheat, a level considered harmless.

The new policy hurt Russia, which is one of the major suppliers of wheat to Egypt.

In the past, Russia often slapped bans on agricultural imports amid political or economic disputes with other nations, citing sanitary reasons.

Meanwhile, the UAE has tightened controls on imports of frozen strawberries from Egypt that may be linked to a hepatitis A outbreak in the U.S. that sickened 119 people

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on Saturday said it had instructed food control authorities in each of the seven emirates “to tighten control procedures on frozen strawberries imported from Egypt in order to avoid the entry of any contaminated products that pose a risk to the consumer in the country”.

Yesterday, a Saudi laboratory following thorough tests has confirmed that Egyptian frozen strawberries in the market are safe for consumption.

The test negates all the rumours circulating on social media platforms regarding Egyptian frozen strawberry products and their link to the Hepatitis A outbreak reported recently across eight US states.

A day earlier, an official report posted on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website does not conform to what has been circulated on social media platforms regarding Egyptian frozen strawberries.

The ministry urged the public to refrain from posting or circulating any news on social media platforms without contacting the concerned authorities to verify and validate the credibility of that information before posting.

Yes, that’s exactly how the world works. Some countries also value women as equal citizens, who can drive and play hockey.

And other countries value data. The Saudis offer nothing but an authoritarian decree.


56 Saudis treated for food poisoning

As many as 56 people were treated for food poisoning after they had taken food from a restaurant in Khabbash governorate.

saudiNajran Municipality spokesman Abdullah Al-Fadel said the Health Affairs Directorate reported that 56 Saudis were admitted to various hospitals with food poisoning. The municipality formed a committee consisting of representatives from the municipality, the Health Affairs Directorate and the Saudi Food and Drugs Authority.

The municipality closed down the restaurant temporarily and took samples of the food and workers to the laboratory. The restaurant did not have any previous record of health and safety violations.

All victims have recovered except for 16 who are still in King Khalid Hospital. However, their condition is stable.

Food may suck in Saudi Arabia; 2,745 restaurants shut for health violation

Samples of food items and drinks taken from more than 2,000 restaurants in Jeddah were found to be contaminated with 11 types of harmful bacteria, a municipal source has said.

saudi.arabia.foodThe shocking results of food samples, which were tested at municipal laboratories, forced the authorities to close down as many as 2,745 restaurants in the last four months, local media reported on Monday.

The bacteria found in the food samples included coliform, which thrive on contaminated food and can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever.

It contaminates water, meat, dairy and poultry products, vegetables and fruits with an incubation period of 12 to 72 hours.

But girls can’t play (ice) hockey: Saudi Arabia municipality refuses to compromise on food safety

A number of restaurant owners whose businesses have been shut down recently by Jeddah’s municipality, have defied the decision by opening their doors again. Several owners also tried to attack inspectors, requiring the intervention of police to help close down their businesses. Al-Buqami, Jeddah municipality’s spokesman, confirmed the events, noting that the decision to shut down the restaurants is only temporary. He said some of the establishments that opened without approval from the municipality, have been shut down again, and received a fine for violating the municipality’s ruling.

Al-Buqami also addressed the recent complaints made by these restaurant owners to the Makkah governorate, calling the municipality’s decree, an injustice.

Saudi Arabia greenhouse farms closed for using sewage water

Saad Al-Muqbil, general director of the General Administration of Agricultural Affairs in the Eastern Province, has said that the administration barred one farm from selling its produce due to its use of sewage water in irrigating crops.

The farm owner was fined SR50,000 and 14 greenhouses in his farm were dismantled. This resulted in an estimated loss of SR300,000 to the owner.
Local consumers had saudi.sewage.feb.14complained of vegetables sold in one of the well-known local grocery shops tasting foul and had voiced their concern about the quality of the crops. Shoppers demanded more intensive health control and supervision of fruits and vegetables sold in the province. 

Saudi Arabia steps up raids on Yanbu eateries after E. coli infection, asks consumers to report food safety violations

Arab News reports that inspection teams from the Yanbu municipality shut down 10 eateries for various violations last year. Many restaurant staffers who were found working in unhygienic conditions had been subjected to medical tests.

A total of 45 bacteria contamination cases were detected during the inspection, and there were 18 workers infected with bacteria, including E.coli.

Speaking to Arab News, Abdul Aali Al-Sheikh, head of the Ya nbu municipality, said inspection teams collected about 890 samples from restaurants, cafeterias, bakeries and outlets for soft drinks during 2011. The affected workers were barred from working at eateries until they recovered from infections. They were allowed to resume duty only after producing a fitness certificate from the Ministry of Health.

“The municipality is giving top priority to ensure environment health, as it is directly related to public health. Subsequently, we will intensify raids on restaurants, food warehouses, and candy stores to ensure that they are preparing dishes and keeping foodstuffs in hygienic conditions,” he said while urging citizens and foreigners to extend cooperation to the municipality in this regard through informing about those eateries that violate health and hygienic regulations.

Camel burgers on the menu in Saudi Arabia

Amy is forever telling me she wants a llama. I figure she saw it in the movie, Napolean Dynamite, and that maybe it would be cool in a retro sorta way. She also grew up with deer, so there’s some validity to it.

Amy also talks of the farm on Interstate-70 between Manhattan (Kansas) and Topeka where she would see a camel on the hill. I never saw the camel. But Amy told the story to enough people that she finally ran into one who knew of the Kansas camel, and said the farmer got rid of it.

Maybe it was made into camel burgers? Cause that’s what they’re doing in Saudi Arabia, where a fast food restaurant is offering baby camel burgers as the latest way for the camel-crazed country to enjoy one of their favorite delicacies.

Saleh Quwaisi, one of the owners of the Local Hashi Meals restaurant in the capital Riyadh which plans to open a second branch soon and considers to expand further, said,

"The idea…was to invent something new. It is about the love of Saudi people for camel meat.”

Walid Sanchez, managing director of, a popular Saudi online dining directory, sees a huge market for camel burgers as Saudis like to try out new menus and appreciate the quality of locally made meat.

"People like camel meat but no one experimented with camel burgers before…I think it will be a popular thing, it will definitely take off.”

Ahmad al-Okaili, ordering "Hashi" burgers — Arabic for baby camel — for him and his children, agreed: "I like their idea and enthusiasm, they’re the first to do this and they’ve become famous with it, which is well-deserved."