This month in Shufersal…
Misrad HaBriut in conjunction with The Academic College of Tel Hai have published a video showing how you can help people who have been emotionally traumatized by an event they just experienced. The video is appropriate for tweens and older. In Hebrew.
You can also watch it on Facebook.
The four points are:
In honour of the Keep Shabbat project this week, Super Cofix is offering a challah and a 187 ml bottle of wine for only 5 shekels! To find a store near you, click here.
Municipal veterinarians throughout the country are threatening to strike on October 26 in protest of a proposed new law that will transfer much of their authority to a תאגיד (corporation) that will perform veterinary inspection of food of animal origin under the authority of the Ministries of Health and Agriculture.
The main focus of their ire is the revoking of what is called בדיקת משנה- literally secondary examination- of meat, poultry, and fish when it passes from municipality to municipality. The laws that require this examination were written 30 and 50 years ago and are not performed in any other developed country. Detractors of this examination say that each municipality charges exorbitant fees, has very limited hours for inspection (generally not in tandem with delivery hours), and actually damages the products by exposing them to high temperatures when opening the truck for the exam. Rescinding this part of the law will lower prices for the consumer and provide a higher quality product with a longer shelf life. The “taagid”, under government authority and not privately owned, will inspect the food before it leaves the factory as well as when it arrives at its final destination- whether it is a supermarket, cold storage, or restaurant.
Proponents of “bedikat mishne” say that there won’t be enough inspectors to ensure the safety of food that is currently inspected by municipal veterinarians. Prices won’t drop as expected and consumers will receive a lower-quality product.
This reform is part of the new Misrad HaBriut Food Law which passed the first reading in the Knesset and is being discussed prior to the second and third reading as part of חוק ההסדרים. This law combines several laws into one and therefore the Food Law will be whisked along with other politically important legislation. You can compare the hok to a VIP pass allowing fast access by avoiding all the lines.
I have strayed from the point of this post, which was to say that if the municipal veterinarians strike, they won’t be examining meat and fish that enters their municipality. Since it must be inspected before it enters, there won’t be any meat or fish moved throughout the country starting on the 26th. Food can be moved locally, however. For example, if a shipment of frozen fish arrives by boat to the Ashdod port and is released to cold storage in Ashdod, all of the supermarkets in Ashdod can get fish delivered because it didn’t move between municipalities. Chicken, however, is a different story. Almost all of it moves between municipalities so expect a severe shortage. What people may not realize is that stopping production not only hurts consumers, it also causes צער בעלי חיים- suffering to the animals. Poultry has to be slaughtered by a certain age because if it is delayed, the birds will become too big for their house. This will cause excessive crowding and undue stress on the birds. It is not practical or financially feasible to move them to a larger house or split them up into two for that short time until they go to slaughter. Therefore, whatever the outcome, it must be decided quickly because there will be a lot of pressure on Misrad haChaklaut to prevent those birds any undue suffering.
Groupon is celebrating 5 years in business and we get the presents! You can get a coupon for a personal pizza with one topping for 5 shekels at Pizza Hut! Valid at these branches.
Two vouchers per order. No other sales valid. No delivery service.
Not valid at the following branches: Tira, Um el Fahm, airport. Malka branch- only available takeaway stand.
We have all been frustrated by the high prices for tomatoes and other vegetables this season. Tomatoes have been especially hard hit because of a virus in the Negev which is destroying entire tomato greenhouses. The virus is called tomato mosaic virus (also known as tobacco mosaic virus), and infected fruits look like this:
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this extremely hardy disease. According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service,
Unlike fungicidal chemicals used to control fungal diseases, to date there are no efficient chemical treatments that protect plant parts from virus infection. Additionally, there are no known chemical treatments used under field conditions that eliminate viral infections from plant tissues once they do occur. Practically speaking, plants infected by viruses remain so. Tobacco mosaic virus is the most persistent plant virus known. It has been known to survive up to 50 years in dried plant parts. Therefore, sanitation is the single most important practice in controlling tobacco mosaic virus.
At this point, I am feeling quite sorry for the tomato farmers in the Negev. One person, however, is not:
The shortages on the shelves are a disgraceful occurrence,” said MK Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union), the chairman of the committee. Even before the committee convened Cabel put out a statement saying that he viewed the situation very gravely and that he intended investigating the truth of the situation and pointing a finger at those responsible for it. Cabel recalled that the committee had already discussed the matter two months ago and warned about shortages and price rises during the Holidays period but despite his warning not enough had been done to prevent this serious situation. (Globes)
He said this last week, when people already knew about tomato mosaic virus running rampant in the Negev greenhouses. I am not sure how you can call a virus “a disgraceful occurrence”, but I guess there must be one conspiracy theorist in every Knesset.
Since this disease will not be clearing up any time soon (estimates are that supplies will be back to normal around December), last month the Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel (Bayit HaYehudi) approved the tax-free import of tomatoes and cucumbers. He did that to ensure a constant supply of vegetables throughout the holidays, but this move was most certainly not the most helpful for consumers. Why? First of all, as we have seen time and time again, the supermarket chains don’t lower their prices when they purchase tax-free food- they keep the prices high and swallow the profits themselves. Secondly, I personally would like to know if I am buying produce from Israel, Jordan, or some other country. In other countries it is a law that there must be a sign that states the origin of all produce sold in supermarkets. This is called COOL- Country of Origin Labeling.
Israel, on the other hand, does not have that requirement in their legislation. Therefore, the consumer can’t tell if the product is an imported, tax-free product which should be priced lower, or an Israeli product. This again helps the supermarkets hide information that consumers would use to evaluate the price of an item.
If this bothers you as much as it does me, write to The Israel Consumer Council- HaMoetza HaYisraelit L’Tzarchanut. Unfortunately, the complaint form is only in Hebrew. While you are there, tell them that you support their proposed legislation to limit the markup of fruits and vegetables by supermarket chains:
הצעת חוק פיקוח על רווחי שיווק בתוצרת חקלאית
Read more about the proposed legislation on their web site. You might also want to write to other Knesset members expressing your support for the law.
Another place to make yourself heard is by supporting COOL legislation in Israel. In my next post, Setting the (food) standard in Israel, I will tell you how.
According to MUM, this is happening throughout the country at all movie theaters. So far the only reference I found to it was on the Rav Hen and Yes Planet web sites, so if you generally go to another movie theater, call them up and check. No other sales or discounts are valid this day. You can order tickets online for an extra 4 shekels.