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:
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)