Saudi health officials investigate food poisoning outbreak at Riyadh restaurant chain

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Nawaf Al-Fozan, the founder and CEO of Hamburgini, uploaded an official video response to the restaurant’s Instagram page, confirming the chain is involved in the outbreak. (Instagram)
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Ministry of Health spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly. (KFSHRC)
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Updated 27 April 2024
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Saudi health officials investigate food poisoning outbreak at Riyadh restaurant chain

  • The outbreak was linked to the consumption of food from the local Hamburgini fast-food restaurant chain
  • Clostridium botulinum contamination in food can cause botulism, a serious illness resulting from the neurotoxin the bacteria produces

RIYADH: Riyadh experienced a wave of food poisoning cases caused by Clostridium botulinum on Thursday.
The outbreak was linked to the consumption of food from the local Hamburgini fast-food restaurant chain, leading to several hospitalizations.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly provided an update on his X account on Saturday, detailing the impact of the outbreak and the steps being taken to manage it.
He said: “Six cases have fully recovered after receiving appropriate health care, and two have been safely discharged. However, 35 individuals remain hospitalized, with 28 of them in intensive care.”
Clostridium botulinum contamination in food can cause botulism, a serious illness resulting from the neurotoxin the bacteria produces. Botulism can cause severe complications, paralysis and death, if not treated promptly. CB is commonly associated with improperly processed canned goods, home-canned vegetables, and cured meats.
The symptoms of this type of food poisoning can range from mild gastrointestinal issues to more severe signs like double vision, difficulty breathing, and paralysis.
The outbreak was first brought to light on Thursday when Riyadh Municipality received a report of food poisoning cases linked to the Hamburgini restaurant chain.
In response, health oversight teams promptly initiated an investigation and began monitoring the situation. By 10 p.m. Thursday all locations, branches, and the main catering factory of the restaurant chain in Riyadh were ordered to close.
Strict health protocols were implemented to contain the outbreak and prevent additional cases of food poisoning.
Delivery services through the facility or via applications were suspended, and coordination efforts were initiated with key bodies, including the Ministry of Health, the Food and Drug Authority, and the Public Health Authority.
On Friday, Nawaf Al-Fozan, the founder and CEO of Hamburgini, uploaded an official video response to the restaurant’s Instagram page, confirming the chain is involved in the outbreak.
Even though the municipality ordered the closing of all restaurants and related facilities due to food poisoning, Al-Fozan said: “We took the initiative to close directly and cancel all orders from all sales outlets and delivery applications. However, the reason, of course, has not been disclosed by the authorities.”
He stated that Hamburgini operates according to global quality standards in food hygiene and safety. “We strive to provide an ideal experience for our customers with high quality and standard specifications. We wish health and safety to everyone who has suffered harm.”
Al-Fozan added: “We are working with all concerned authorities to take all necessary measures and precautions, and we will keep you updated.”
The Health Ministry emphasized the importance of obtaining information from official sources to ensure accurate and reliable guidance. It also expressed gratitude for the authorities’ efforts in reducing the risk of infection and treating those affected.


UN welcomes Saudi date donation for Sri Lanka kids

Updated 9 sec ago
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UN welcomes Saudi date donation for Sri Lanka kids

  • KSrelief aids national meal program to boost nutrition for primary students 

RIYADH: The UN World Food Programme has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s donation of 300 tonnes of dates for vulnerable children in Sri Lanka.

Provided through Saudi Arabia’s aid agency KSrelief, the dates will be given to primary grade children enrolled in the country’s national school meal program. 

The contribution was acknowledged at a signing event on Tuesday between the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Sri Lanka and the WFP, according to a press release. 

Sri Lanka’s children have been severely affected by the country’s economic downturn which began in 2022, when lost jobs and reduced incomes made it harder for families to access nutritious meals.

Through this contribution, Saudi Arabia joins international communities in supporting the nation’s recovery, particularly in improving nutrition and building its human capital. 

“In times of crises, it is often children who are among those hardest hit,” said Gerard Rebello, country director of WFP Sri Lanka.

“We are grateful for the support from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in diversifying the food children receive through the school meal program.”

The program is designed to fulfill up to one-third of a child’s daily nutrients, making it a lifeline for many families. Substituting 20 percent of a household’s cost of a nutritious diet, the meals provide real value to poor communities, leaving them better able to afford healthy food.

The nutrient-rich dates will be served as a complementary fruit at the end of a hot meal comprising rice and curry. Packed with vitamins, fiber and protein, the dates help meet the energy requirements of children, needed for them to learn and play.=


Saudi Arabia inaugurates self-driving aerial taxi during Hajj

Updated 12 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia inaugurates self-driving aerial taxi during Hajj

  • The electric flying taxi will transport pilgrims across holy sites, facilitate the swift transfer of medical emergencies and supplies, as well as deliver goods

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia has inaugurated a pioneering self-driving aerial taxi service for pilgrims during this year’s Hajj season.

The electric flying taxi will transport pilgrims across holy sites, facilitate the swift transfer of medical emergencies and supplies, as well as deliver goods, state news agency SPA reported.
Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistic Services, said the flying taxi is the world’s first to be licensed by a civil aviation authority.
On Wednesday, Al-Jasser witnessed the vertical takeoff of the autonomous vehicle during the launch event attended by Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, president of General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA); Rumaih Al-Rumaih, Deputy Minister of Transport and Logistics Services, and several representatives of related entities.
The minister said the inauguration of the air taxi was part of the efforts to apply the latest future transport technologies and adopt innovative environment-friendly transport models that use artificial intelligence applications.
In line with the objectives of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy, the Kingdom aims to modernize the transport sector through the launch of air taxi technologies, electric cars and hydrogen trains.
Al-Jasser said the ministry is working to enhance smart mobility and develop legislation, laws, and systems that enable the employment of modern technologies.
It also seeks to provide experimental environments to facilitate the expansion of future transport technologies.
GACA’s Al-Duailej said the flying taxi was one of the most significant initiatives of the advanced air mobility roadmap, which aims to reduce passenger travel time within congested areas, especially during emergencies, facilitate the transportation of goods and medical supplies, and complete surveillance and inspection tasks in a speedy manner.
The aerial taxi is among 32 modern technologies applied to serve pilgrims during this year’s Hajj.


Saudi authorities thwart attempt to smuggle 240kg of qat

Updated 12 June 2024
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Saudi authorities thwart attempt to smuggle 240kg of qat

  • Qat, a shrub native to the Arabian Peninsula, contains mainly cathine and cathinone

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Border Guard has foiled an attempt to smuggle 240 kg of qat into the country.

Officers in Asir’s Al-Raboah district arrested several suspects, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The government has urged the public to report suspected smuggling operations or customs violations on the confidential numbers 1910 and 00 966 114208417, or via email at [email protected].

Financial rewards are offered for tips leading to prosecutions.

Qat, a shrub native to the Arabian Peninsula, contains mainly cathine and cathinone that cause excitement, euphoria and loss of appetite.

The World Health Organization in 1980 stated that qat can create mild to moderate psychological dependence. It is banned in several countries, including Saudi Arabia.


KSrelief announces three health projects to support hospitals in Sudan

Updated 12 June 2024
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KSrelief announces three health projects to support hospitals in Sudan

RIYADH: Saudi aid group KSrelief inaugurated three health projects in Port Sudan, Red Sea State that provide necessary medical equipment to hospitals, the Saudi Press Agency said.  

The first project aims to support Al-Abyadh Specialist Hospital for Children with an oxygen station to generate and distribute oxygen, benefiting 25,000 individuals.

The second project seeks to support government hospitals affiliated with the Sudanese Ministry of Health with dialysis machine, benefiting 3,960 individuals.

The third project provides medical equipment to children’s hospitals affiliated with the Patient Support Fund, filling a major shortage of medical equipment in Kasla Hospital and Al-Obeid Hospital. It is expected to benefit 200,000 individuals directly and indirectly.

The projects were announced in the presence of Saudi Ambassador to Sudan Ali bin Hassan Jafar, Sudanese Federal Minister of Health Dr. Haitham Mohamed Ibrahim, Sudanese Sovereignty Council member Lieutenant-General Bahri Ibrahim Jaber Ibrahim, and a KSrelief team.


Saudi envoy sends off first group of King Salman’s Palestinian Hajj guests from Jordan

Updated 12 June 2024
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Saudi envoy sends off first group of King Salman’s Palestinian Hajj guests from Jordan

RIYADH: Saudi Ambassador to Jordan Naif bin Bandar Al-Sudairi Tuesday bid farewell to the first group of 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims, who are staying in Jordan, who were invited by King Salman to perform Hajj this year.
Al-Sudairi saw off the pilgrims, who are the families and relatives of Palestinian martyrs, prisoners and wounded, at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman.
He said that the Palestinian martyrs, prisoners and wounded deserved the ‘paternal attention’ from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and added that the gesture was part of the government’s “continuous and generous support for serving Islam and Muslims in general and the brotherly Palestinian people in particular.”
The Palestinians are performing their pilgrimage under the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program.