couponing in the holy land

Frugal food shopping for the Anglo Israeli

Archive for the tag “food law”

More meat and fish shortages expected next week- stock up now

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.

Source: Globes, Agrisupport online

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What happened to all the coupons?

Hi folks- January has been a really quiet month coupon-wise.  I have been out of the country most of this month, but even so I have been hard-pressed to find good deals to pass on to you.

One of the reasons why came from Tnuva, who gave this answer on their Facebook page when people like me went looking for new coupons and found none:

“בעקבות חקיקת חוק המזון בנוגע לפרסום קופונים ומבצעים בין ספקי מזון לרשתות השיווק, בשלב זה אין באפשרותנו להציע קופונים עבור מוצרי תנובה. “
“The new food law states that it is forbidden to advertise coupons and sales between food distributors and supermarket chains, so at this point Tnuva is unable to provide coupons for Tnuva products.”
That is a strange statement.  Firstly, there is a draft of the revised food law, but it hasn’t come into effect-it hasn’t even been read once by the Knesset, so it is hard to believe that Tnuva is so responsible that they are abiding by a possible new law which might come into effect possibly for years.  You can read the draft here if you are so inclined- the final date to send in comments has passed, however.  It is 104 pages and I must admit I haven’t read it cover to cover yet.  I did a quick search for the words “coupon”, “advertise”, “sale”, and “food distributors” and was unable to find the part that Tnuva is referring to.  I probably need to read it more carefully because when I jumped to the Strauss Sheli web site to look for coupons, I found this message:
״בינואר 2015 נכנס לתוקפו ״חוק המזון״ ובו נקבעו, בין היתר, מגבלות מסוימות לגבי חלוקת קופונים לצרכנים. החברה בוחנת את סוגי ומאפייני הקופונים אותם ניתן לחלק בכפוף להוראות החוק ותפעל לחלוקת קופונים בהתאם למותר על פי הדין.״
OK, now I know that the new food law is a draft- therefore it has not in effect as Strauss says. So what is going on?  Is this some sort of show against the new law or is it a convenient excuse not to provide coupons?  The Israeli Chamber of Commerce doesn’t mention this issue in their comments and neither does the Israeli Manufacturer’s Organization– the umbrella organization for manufacturers such as Strauss and Tnuva.  That means that the issue is not really important to manufacturers (if it really exists).  The issue should be important to the Israel Consumer Council though- if anyone is concerned, they should be.  Despite their detailed list about what the new law means for consumers, there is no mention of coupons being forbidden.  Some of the practices that the new law does forbid include: the purchasing of preferable shelf space in a supermarket, forcing the recommended price of an item on a seller, limiting supermarket space to 50% for extremely large companies, and forcing consumers to buy a less-preferred product to get a low-priced preferred product.  You can read more on their web site.  I might say that forbidding a recommended price MIGHT be related to coupons, but it isn’t very clear to me at all.
At this point I am perturbed.  Are you?  I can’t see any reason to forbid coupons.  If limiting coupons to particular supermarkets is what Misrad HaBriut feels is preferential treatment that should be stopped, then have coupons valid at all supermarkets!  Maybe the whole point of coupons was a joint deal to promote certain supermarkets?!?!
If this issue bothers you as much as it bothers me, complain!  Click on the names to file a complaint and make sure to mention “Chok HaMazon” חוק המזון.
  1. Strauss (Hebrew) (English) (Facebook)
  2. Tnuva (Facebook)
  3. Israel Consumer Council
  4. Misrad HaBriut
  5. Manufacturers Association of Israel

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