Authorities in Riyadh said they had shut down branches of a restaurant in the city in the wake of a food poisoning incident. Illustrative image.. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Cairo: Saudi authorities have urged restaurants and food service providers to be well-placed for handling any food safety-related emergencies after 35 persons suffered poisoning in Riyadh last week.

The Ministry of Municipal and Village Affairs and Housing Ministry has recently circulated a safety guidebook to private sector food businesses to obtain their feedback, and called on operators to report any suspected lack of food safety to the competent agencies.

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The guidebook obligates those establishments to suspend serving food or ingredients believed to be unsafe if they are still under their control, and keep them in a place with a label reading “unfit for human consumption” pending legal procedures, the Saudi news portal Akhbar24 reported.

Moreover, the establishment’s operator is obligated to notify the official institutions in case more than two of the staffers suffered from diarrhoea or vomiting while in the working environment.

Last week, 35 people were hospitalised with food poisoning symptoms traced back to a restaurant with several outlets in Riyadh. More than half of them later left the hospital after recovery, health authorities said.

Authorities in Riyadh said they had shut down branches of a restaurant in the city in the wake of the incident.

The Riyadh mayoralty added that the restaurant’s main supply facility in Riyadh was shuttered and its delivery services suspended.

The restaurant in question was not officially named. Nor is the exact cause of the case clear yet. However, the incident has since been at the centre of debate in the Saudi media with specialists offering tips to the public on how to avoid food poisoning.