Saudi authorities have seized nearly 50 tonnes of bad meat destined for restaurants in the western Red Sea port of Jeddah in a major operation which officials said had prevented a disaster.
Inspectors from the Jeddah Municipality busted more than 3,160 slaughtered sheep smuggled from the holy city of Makkah, where millions of livestock heads were sacrificed during Eid Al Adha last week, newspapers said on Monday.
“All those sheep were found to be unfit for human consumption and were destined to restaurants and kitchens in Jeddah,” Alwatan daily said, quoting Nassir Ak-Jarallah, director of the Jeddah’s abattoirs department.
“They have been smuggled from Makkah by drivers who work for charity institutions…this meat could have led to a disaster if they reached restaurants as they could cause food poisoning, yellow fever, Malta fever and other diseases that are transmitted to humans by food.”
He said the meat weighs nearly 50 tonnes, which were loaded on 142 vehicles, adding that all the drivers have been detained for investigation.
The newspaper said the smugglers had intended to sell the meat at only SR50 per head compared with the present price of more than SR800.
“Examination showed that all the stuff are bad and not fit for human consumption because of improper storage inside bags crammed in car boots…some of the meat was placed in dirty plastic bags,” Jarallah said.