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Hygienic quality of food supplied for hajjis in Mina camps and factors affecting it during Hajj 1426H (2006 G)


Hajj in Saudi Arabia is one of the important and rare situations where millions of people accumulate in a relatively small area for a few days; these situations can increase the risk and size of food poisoning outbreaks among the consumers during hajj season. Decrease in the number of reported food poisoning outbreaks, in recent years, is a good indicator of improved quality of food but may not be considered a valid measure of food quality where hajjis physiological variations, outbreak size and location, reporting attitude will affect the number of reported outbreaks.


A cross-sectional descriptive study conducted to review different aspects of bacteriological quality of food served in Mina area during Hajj 1426H [5TH-15TH Dhul Hajja 1426)]. The study involved different types of study populations including the food served in Mina; the food establishments preparing, transporting and serving the food; and the food handlers involved throughout the process from procurement to serving. A structured questionnaire was designed to collect the information from the participating camps. The questionnaire had the following six parts: Visit to Food Preparation Place, Food transportation system, Mina camp visit, Hygienic Assessment of Food Handlers, Food Sample Submission Form, And sub nail Swab Submission Form.


A total of 107 hajjis camps were visited. The highest number of camps was from level D with 39 (36.4%) and the lowest was level B with only 9 (8.4%) camps. Only 11 (10.3%) camps were serving more than 1500 hajjis. Most of the facilities 38 (64.4%) were using liquid gas stoves in heating food before serving, Only 43 (40.2%) camps were routinely reheating all meals before serving to hajjis and 14 (13.1%) camps were never reheating the meals. 67 (62.5%) camps cooked the meals outside the camp. Most of the facilities 39 (58.2%) used dyana in transporting food. 33 (49.3%) facilities were using completely covered vehicles to transfer foods. 18 (26.9%) vehicles had cooling systems for food transmission, 23 (34.3%). The time consumed from loading the food in the vehicle to reaching the camp ranged from 60 minutes to 310 minutes. Only, 35 (37.6%) facilities were using UV insect killer and disposable gloves were available in 67 (72.0%) of the facilities. From 101 staff that was examined, 84 (83.2%) workers had clean nails and 72 (71.3%) worker were using gloves during dealing with food. But, 9 (8.9%) workers had boils on their hands and 41 (40.6%) workers were not covering their hair during dealing with food, and 3 (2.9%) workers were with poor clothes cleanliness. 79 (78.2%) workers had a valid health certificate on time of examination.


Defects in cleanliness of crockery, food precooking storage, cooking, and serving areas; availability of UV insect killers; and availability of properly functioning WC for the workers were observed. Camps with high levels exhibited relatively poor hygienic conditions than camps with low levels in certain aspects.