couponing in the holy land

Frugal food shopping for the Anglo Israeli

Archive for the tag “misrad hachaklaut”

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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Increased meat/egg smuggling and illegal production during the holiday season

The holiday season is usually characterized by an increase in the number of attempts to smuggle meat originating from the Palestinian Authority, an increase in the rate of illegal slaughter, and an increase in attempts to illegally produce eggs and forge their markings. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development attributes the increase in these illegal activities to the high potential for profit these products offer as the demand for them increases. The inspectors of the Central Investigation and Enforcement Unit  (Pitzuach) at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development invest a huge amount of time and effort during this period in an attempt to stop smuggling attempts, illegal slaughter, and the forging of animal products, in light of the real threat to public health posed by the possibility that these products, which were produced and slaughtered without veterinary supervision, will be consumed by the public. The inspectors operate based on intelligence information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in the areas located between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, in warehouses and in points of sale. 488,790 eggs, 182,233 tons of chicken meat and beef and 676 tons of cheese were seized and destroyed following an order issued by a veterinary doctor this past week alone.

During the weekend, a house in which beef was illegally slaughtered without veterinary supervision was found in Lod. The quantity of beef found in the apartment was especially large – 1 ton. The meat was destroyed following an order issued by a veterinary doctor, and criminal charges were presses against the suspects involved.

In addition, the inspectors of the Ministry of Agriculture seized during the weekend a truck attempting to smuggle 4 tons of meat, originating from the Judea and Samaria area in the Palestinian Authority, and intended to be sold in Israel. The truck was caught at the Hotze Shomron checkpoint. The driver, a resident of the central region of Israel in his late 30s, was detained, and criminal charges were pressed against him.

An illegal egg production facility was also found during the weekend. The inspectors of the Central Investigation and Enforcement Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, together with officers of the Israeli Border Police and IDF soldiers, raided an egg sorting facility located in the Hevron area, in which eggs were marked in order to make them seem “kosher for sale”. Eggs in the facility were marked with forged stamps of a well-known and certified sorting facility in Israel, and with “kosher for Passover” marks, to make them seem authentic. Forging measures for marking the eggs and 27,000 eggs were seized on location and in a nearby warehouse.

Source: Misrad HaChaklaut web site

For tips on how and where to purchase meat and eggs, check out Aliyah tip #9: buying meat, fish and eggs.

illegal slaughter

Turkish eggs found to have pesticide residues

Misrad HaChaklaut announced today that during a routine test of eggs imported from Turkey, they discovered pesticide residues of an amount that is above the legal limit in Israel.  As a result of this, all imports from that region will be tested for pesticide residues before being released for sale.

Did you know that Israel produces 2 billion eggs a year, and that is still not enough to supply the Israeli public? Israel therefore has to import approximately 150 million eggs a year, especially around Pesach and Rosh HaShanah.  For comparison, the United States produces 75 billion eggs per year and Australia produces 392 million dozen.    To date, eggs are imported into Israel from Turkey, Spain, and the Netherlands.

The Misrad HaChaklaut article doesn’t say what pesticide residue was found or whether this has happened before.  It also doesn’t say what happened to the contaminated eggs- there hasn’t been a recall, so where did they go?  Where they held until the test results came back or did we eat those eggs?  Not a pleasant thought.

The Marker shows a different perspective of the countries that export eggs to Israel:

מאיפה מגיעות הביצים המיובאות

They also reminded us of the media storm surrounding the importing of eggs from Turkey in 2012 because in Turkey there is no requirement to vaccinate their chickens for Salmonella, as there is in Israel.  At the same time, a study came out in the Poultry Science journal which showed an incidence of 60% Salmonella positive flocks in Turkey, 70% of which being Salmonella Enteritidis, a particularly pathogenic strain of Salmonella that caused a recall of approximately 500 million eggs in the United States in 2010.  Because of this information, pressure was put on Misrad HaChaklaut to enforce the decades-old law which requires egg sorting stations to label which country eggs are produced in.

For more information about eggs in Israel, check out Aliyah tip #1: Understanding eggs (2015 update)

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Egg prices are going down!

The Ministry of Agriculture has announced the new lowered price of eggs that come under price regulation, which includes a package of 12 “regular” eggs (not omega, organic, or free range):

Egg weight (grams) Egg size New price (inc. Ma’am) Old price (inc.Ma’am) New price in Eilat (inc. Ma’am) Old price in EIlat (inc. Ma’am)
over 73 grams  XL 13.20 13.60 11.20 11.50
63-73 grams  L 12.10 12.50 10.25 10.60
53-63 grams  M 11.20 11.50 9.50 9.75

***In the interest of public health, consumers are advised to only purchase eggs in closed packages.

Don’t worry, your eyes aren’t tricking you- the new price is only 3% lower than the previous price, which is similar to the last price adjustment in November 2013, which was lowered 3.3%.

Source: Misrad HaChaklaut

ביצים

Helpful shmita lists

If you want to know if the produce you are buying is from a farm that is under the heter mechira, check out these lists from the rabbanut and Misrad HaHaklaut arranged by yishuv and by the name of the farm.

For a comprehensive list of when shmita starts and finishes for each fruit, vegetable, and spice check out this chart.  It also has dates for sefichin and biur.

שנת שמיטה תשע"ה

More reports of animal abuse- this time at Zoglobek

Kolbotek, the Israel expose show, showed a hidden video this week showing incidents of serious abuse of the animals coming for slaughter.  To watch the video, click here.

Since the airing of the video, the Knesset has discussed “the Zoglobek issue.”

The Rabbinic Council will meet on Monday to discuss the removal of Zoglobek’s kashrut certification.  The Rav HaRashi, HaRav David Lau, stated: “In addition to the personally difficult issues when watching the video, there are also considerable halachic issues.  We are talking about dying or unhealthy animals brought to shechita.  According to the Torah, it is forbidden to slaughter animals in that condition.  We are commanded by the Torah to shecht animals only in a fashion that prevents abuse.” (source)

In response to the question as to how the shochtim could allow this to happen, has said that whoever sees animal abuse is required by halacha to report it to the authorities.

Misrad HaChaklaut is responsible both for the veterinary supervision of the slaughterhouse and the prevention of animal abuse.  They have promised to investigate.  However, some are saying it is too little, too late, as in Adom Adom.  Dr Moshe Rafaelovich, the head of the Organization of City Veterinarians, is calling for the supervisory authority of Misrad HaChaklaut on animal welfare to be moved to another ministry who will appropriate the task as its mission. (source)

In the social media outlets there is a call to boycott Zoglobek’s products.  Zoglobek also runs the risk of losing its export license to the European Union, since the EU law states that any imported product must hold to the same animal welfare standards as the EU (source).

It isn’t such a party any more…

6500 eggs smuggled into Israel from the PA caught and destroyed

Misrad Hachaklaut announced the capture and destruction of 6500 eggs that were smuggled into Israel under unsanitary conditions and without temperature control.  The eggs entered from the Nachal Iron area by a local resident and were to be sold in the North.

Since January 2013, there have been 151 incidents of egg smuggling and approximately 1.7 million have been captured and destroyed.

Eggs from the Palestinian Authority are forbidden to be sold in Israel because there is no veterinary supervision of the hens and their eggs, there is no possiblity to ensure sanitary conditions of packaging and marketing and a lack of temperature control.  Eggs have to be maintained below 20C according to Israeli law.

For more information about eggs and egg smuggling, check out this post.

When might you suspect that your eggs are illegally imported?

  • They are stored above 20C
  • They have no stamp, an illegible stamp, or the stamp is not printed accoring to the regulations (see previous post)
  • They are not sold in a reputable supermarket chain

Source: The Marker

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