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MENAFN - Arab News - 08/05/2014
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(MENAFN - Arab News) Total of 75 percent of firms in the catering and food sector in makkah are front companies illegally trading in seasonal worker visas during the haj and umrah seasons a leading member of the makkah chamber of commerce and industry (mcci) said here recently.the companies are registered in the city but are either bogus or inactive said shakir al-sharif chairman of the mcci's catering and food committee. he urged the authorities to investigate these companies because their behavior is affecting services in the city.he said the committee is now trying to get environmental experts to have permanent representation on the committee to draw up standards for the sector. the committee also wants to work with the central haj committee on this issue which includes ensuring firms can deliver food safely to the holy sites during hot weather.al-sharif said the committee also wants to introduce a special prize for companies offering the best services to the guests of god during the peak seasons. the details of the prize have not been determined yet.he said the committee has launched a website that would provide makkah residents and visitors with all the information they need about companies working in the sector before signing any contracts with them.al-sharif said the committee has discussed the possibility of signing an agreement with the saudi food and drug authority (sfda) to gain access to its expertise on quality standards.he also announced that the committee plans to set up a privately owned internationally benchmarked company to operate in the sector. studies are under way to determine the firm's operational structure. it would not compete with other firms in the sector but rather oversee the provision of safe and quality food.prince faisal bin saud deputy chairman of the committee said it has a long-term vision to set up a centralized structure that would organize and supervise the sector according to approved international standards. he said the committee was making every effort to ensure individuals have access to affordable safe and nutritious food.prince faisal said the committee's goals include plans to increase the city's strategic food reserve and get accurate data on the market with the help of the sfda the ministry of commerce and industry and other bodies.the plan is also to ensure that food remains affordable and to protect the market from fluctuating global prices. the main aim is to ensure the private sector can operate businesses on a sustainable basis he said.


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