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:
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.
Due to recent events, the kupot cholim will be offering emotional support and advice to their patients 24 hours a day. Each contact number is listed below:
Source: Misrad HaBriut Facebook page
In 2010, Kolbotek, the show that loves to expose secrets in the food industry, had a two-part show about the amount of water that is added and/or injected into frozen fish in Israel. You can watch the videos here:
Quite a furor arose after this show- the Knesset called an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, supermarkets ran to remove the products from their freezers, and there were public campaigns to stop buying fish from China. One of the companies, DeliDag, which is owned by Neto (think Tibon Veal, Atara, Wiliger, and more) sued Kolbotek for “lashon hara”-libel. The judgement came down last week and DeliDag lost.
One of the judges had this to say about the suit:
Not every threat that publishes a study shows damage to the consumer. The medicine for this is running to court and filing a libel suit. Sometimes it is better to bow your head, examine the results of the study, to recognize the fault if there is one, and work to correct it.
So as sensationalist as Kolbotek tends to be, this time you can accept them as truth. When you buy frozen fish, know that when it says “meubad”- “מעובד”- that means that the fish is processed and not fresh. Look at the ingredients on the back and you will find food additives such as phosphates listed. Food additives all have their E number listed with either the name or the type of food additive it is. If you see that the fish has “tzipui kerach”-“ציפוי קרח”- that fished is glazed. The law states that there can be up to 20% glazing on a fish.
Misrad HaBriut is responsible for the import of frozen and fresh fish to Israel. If you find a product on the shelf that is not labeled appropriately or appears to have too much water in it, save the fish and the package and call *5400 or email Misrad HaBriut on their web site (English) to find out where to file a complaint.
Misrad HaBriut, in honor of Food Safety Week, published this great picture summarizing the important points in buying meat, fish and eggs. A summary in English follows below:
Source: Misrad HaBriut’s Facebook page
Misrad HaBriut tested Poseidon tuna in oil and found high levels of histamine in it- above the maximum permitted level . The affected batch is being recalled. The public is asked not to eat this product. It can be returned for compensation by calling Wiliger customer service at 1-800-50-40-50.
Details about the product:
נתחי טונה קטנה בשמן “פוסידון”:
960 grams, bar code 7290002657408
Manufacturing date: 4 February 2015
Use by date: February 2019
For more information about histamine poisoning, check out this web site.
Food Safety Week continues with surprise visits to supermarkets Rami Levy in Jerusalem, Mega BaIr and Shufersal in Tel Aviv. What they found was not so appealing. Check out the video on Mako- Arutz 2 or on Misrad HaBriut’s Facebook page.
If you can’t understand the Hebrew, here is a quick summary of what they found:
During the inspections, samples were taken of the ground meat for microbiological analysis. The ground chicken from Shufersal and Rami Levy had Salmonella growing and the ground beef from Mega Ba’Ir had a high general bacterial count as well as coliform bacteria– a sign of fecal contamination.
Rami Levy’s response: The deficiencies were apparently due to the pressure of the holidays. The deficiencies noted in the inspection report were corrected immediately.
Mega BaIr’s response: The report speaks of a specific problem in only one store. A follow-up inspection by Misrad HaBriut showed that most of the deficiencies were corrected. Regarding the bacterial testing, that is to be expected in a raw product that must be cooked before eating- it does not affect the quality or safety of the product.
Shufersal’s response: We feel that preserving the quality of our products is of the utmost importance. We therefore strictly supervise each store to ensure that they comply with Misrad HaBriut’s standards. We will review the inspection report and correct any deficiency that needs to be corrected.
Tonight, March 29, 2015, specialists from Misrad HaBriut will be online from 6-8pm (18:00-20:00) to answer all of your food safety questions in preparation for International Food Safety Day 7 April 2015 . Post your question as a reply to the Misrad HaBriut Facebook page and it will get answered there. For more information, go to Misrad HaBriut’s web site. I know some of my readers don’t use Facebook, so what I would recommend is to send your question to the moked stating that you want it answered by the specialists and it will be included that way.
Since we are already talking food safety, check out this great video by the WHO- Five Keys to Safer Food (English with Hebrew subtitles). Appropriate for kids as well with minion-like microbes.
Channel 10’s “Bar Code” program went out into the field with Misrad HaBriut to see just how contaminated our water is- from the tap as well as from filtered water from Tami 4, Tzalul, Hadas, and Electra Bar.
What did they find? All of the filtered water tested had bacteria in it- more so than tap water in the same household- but almost of them were within the standard for normal water. The water was NOT tested for chemicals, chlorine levels, heavy metals, or other contaminants.
Two of the water filter companies responded saying that the machines tested were purchased years ago and the customers never changed the filters (at least through the filter company) or cleaned the water holder. This would explain the bacteria levels found.
Their conclusion? If you are one of the 1 in 3 Israeli families with a water filter in their house, if you are using it because you feel filtered water is healthier- don’t waste your money.
What do you think?
Watch the video on the Arutz 10 web site.