A mobile lab near Grand Mosque in Mecca. Image Credit: Mecca Municipality

Cairo: Saudi municipal authorities in Mecca are operating mobile laboratories in the vicinity of the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, to check food provided to worshippers and pilgrims during Ramadan.

The facilities, provided by the municipality’s Food Safety department, tests food and meals offered to worshippers to end their fast daily at sunset during Ramadan.

The municipality said the step aims to verify suitability of the food and regularly analyse samples at the site.

The service is part of an integrated system in effect round the clock at the sacred site during Ramadan, which usually marks the peak season of Umrah or lesser pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

For its part, the General Presidency for Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques earlier this month said it launched a programme at the Grand Mosque for testing dates eaten by worshippers to break the day-long fast in Ramadan.

Millions of Muslims from around the globe flock to the holy places in Saudi Arabia, mainly in Ramadan, for worshipping and undertaking Umrah.

Saudi Arabia expects the number of Umrah pilgrims since the onset of the season last July will reach 9 million by the end of Ramadan.

Saudi authorities have in recent months unveiled a set of facilities for Muslims wishing to come to the country to undertake Umrah.

Muslims holding different types of entry visas such as the personal, visit and tourism visas are allowed to undertake Umrah and visit Al Rawda Al Sharifa, where the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) is located in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

Millions of Muslims, who cannot afford the annual Hajj rituals physically or financially, annually flock to Saudi Arabia to undertake Umrah.