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Food Safety Focus (95th Issue, June 2014) – Food Incident Highlight

Food Safety Advice for Travellers and Pilgrims to Middle East

Since Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was first recognised in Saudi Arabia in 2012, up till now there have been more than 700 confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome globally, mostly originated in the Middle East. Although recent studies suggest that camels may be a source of some human infections, the full picture on the source is not yet clear.

Consumption of raw or undercooked animal products carries a high risk of infection from a variety of organisms that might cause disease in humans. Besides observing good personal and environmental hygiene, travellers and pilgrims to the Middle East should avoid drinking raw milk and only consume animal products that have been appropriately processed through cooking, pasteurisation or other heat treatments. They should also adhere to good food safety practices such as washing fruits and vegetables properly before consumption.