Arutz Sheva of Israel National News reports that on April 30, a report was received from the mother of an infant enrolled in an Emunah daycare in Jerusalem claiming infants and toddlers in one of the daycare’s classes were suffering stomachaches and intestinal disturbances.
According to Ynet, an investigation by the Jerusalem District Health Office found the problems had begun several days earlier, in the daycare’s 2-year-old class, when 15 of the class’s 24 children became ill and one was hospitalized.
In the infants’ group, 15 out of 18 infants became ill, and one was hospitalized.
Last Wednesday, the Health Office received the results of the various tests performed, and found that one of the sick children tested positive for salmonella.
A district health supervisor was immediately sent to the daycare, where they found that both breakfast and lunch were served hot and made on the premises. The supervisor also made a list of health hazards which the daycare will need to fix.
During the visit, the supervisor took samples of food stored in the daycare since April 28. Though the samples did not test positive for salmonella, they did test positive for several other pathogens.
Ten additional people have come down with brucellosis after consuming camel milk, it was revealed today (Thursday, 8 Sep 2016) when the Ministry of Health extended the administrative closure of a business dealing with this product. A month ago, it was reported that 2 children were hospitalized in mild to moderate condition at the Ichilov Hospital [Tel-Aviv] with brucellosis resulting of drinking the said milk.
Concurrently, the Be’er Sheva Magistrate indicted E.L., the manager of an enterprise engaged with the storage and marketing of milk and milk products “Green for Life” or “Genesis Milk” in Moshav Sitria, Shefela district. Prof. Shmuel Rishpon, Acting District Medical Officer [DMO] – Center District, signed today the extension of the closure order of the business, issued by the DMO/Center, Dr. Ofra Havkin, on 11 Aug 2016, for 30 additional days.
The Acting DMO’s decision stated that the closure order was extended because during an inspection/control visit to the enterprise, performed about 2 weeks ago, it was found that — in breach with the previous order — camel milk was encountered in the premises. Even worse, since the decree was issued last month, information on 10 additional brucellosis patients, infected by the consumption of the milk, has been obtained. “This situation is indicative of continued immediate danger to public health from the consumption of the camel milk,” Prof Rishpon stated in the issued order.
The popular Aroma coffee chain has stopped selling two lychee-coconut iced drinks after finding possible listeria, the latest in a series of food health scares in Israel this month.
The chain, among the most popular coffee shops in the country, said in a statement that it had stopped selling the drink after “a routine check found suspicion of listeria in one of the batches.” It added that it hoped to go back to marketing it after completing an inspection of the factory.
The Health Ministry said in a statement it had been informed of the possible outbreak Sunday evening and was carrying out a check of the product. It said the factory was being cleaned and disinfected.
Last week two salmon companies announced possible listeria contamination. The Neto Group, a large Israeli food conglomerate, said a shipment of salmon was found to contain the harmful bacteria. No fish from the tainted shipment made it to its factory, the company said, adding that all shipments are tested at the port before being released to the next destination.
While Unilever told just-food.com that Telma cereal products “production and marketing continue as usual” despite controls from Israel’s Ministry of Health (MOH), Adi Dovrat-Meseritz of Haaretz reports that Olga Raz, a well-known dietician who has told consumers not to be overly concerned about the salmonella bacteria in their food, has also served as a paid spokeswoman for Unilever Israel, whose breakfast cereals sparked the scare.
Raz, a dietitian at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital and a senior lecturer in Ariel University’s nutrition department who has had popular radio programs, made two public appearances as a paid spokeswoman for Unilever and its Telma cereals in the last two years.
In an interview this week to the ultra-Orthodox newspaper Yated Neeman, she said, “There’s no need to panic … bacteria have always been there and always will be. … It’s true mistakes happen but big food plants are reporting and inspecting all the time. The real problem is restaurants, delicatessens and cafes, which are unsupervised and don’t test.”
Ariel University sent out a backgrounder to the media a week ago, citing Raz as an authority and a member of the faculty, without mentioning her Unilever connection.
In the Ariel backgrounder Raz also discounted the salmonella problem
In an interview with TheMarker, Raz said her relationship with Unilever, which goes back several years, doesn’t disqualify her to speak on salmonella or other issues affecting the company.
“I didn’t think about it then and even now I still don’t think it’s a problem. I only say things that are accepted by professionals in the matter of salmonella.”
Professionals in the matter of salmonella would say finding it in cereal is a big problem.
Raz, stick to dietary con-games and industry flackery.
Last week, two children were hospitalized for mild to moderate condition at Ichilov Hospital, following a drinking camel’s milk marketed by the company. Following the admission office ordered destroyed four tons of camel milk.
Amir Shreibman (64) and his wife, Kfar Sava have suffered in recent weeks from a high fever. “Four months ago we started to drink camel’s milk of Genesis, after we were convinced that it had medicinal properties,” he said. “They told us that many people drink this milk, and everything was fine. We did not think anything would happen to us, even if unpasteurized milk.”
The Health Ministry ruled today (Sunday) that the “Hanasich” tehina company will no longer be allowed to manufacture or distribute its products until further notice, after its raw tehina was found to be infected with Salmonella, leading to a recall of many products containing Hanasich tehina.
“Hanasich tehina company has conducted itself in a negligent, irresponsible, unfitting, and unprofessional manner,” the Health Ministry ruling read.
The Ministry ordered the company to destroy all the Salmonella-infected tehina stock.
Meanwhile, a request for approval for a class action suit against Shamir Salads, Prince Tehina, and the Shufersal Ltd. (TASE:SAE) and Yohananoff retail chains was filed today (Sunday) at the Lod District Court, following the recent contamination of Tehina with salmonella. The request demands financial compensation of over NIS 6.7 billion, NIS 1,000 per suitor.
The suit was filed through advocates Assaf Noy, David Or Hen, Yossi Greiber and Yitzhak Or and includes a demand for compensation for Israeli consumers “who feel anxious about their own health and the health of their children, anger, uncertainty, and disgust at eating the products of the respondents, suspected of salmonella bacteria contamination.”
The lawsuit claims that Shamir Salads or Prince Tehina had been negligent in not conducting lab tests on their products, while Prince had also concealed information from its customers.
In a follow-up, Michael Bachner of the Jewish Press reports the Israeli Ministry of Health on Thursday ordered a halt to all sales of products containing tahini made by Prince Tahina, the largest manufacturer of tahini in the Middle East and one of the biggest in the world, amid a burgeoning scandal in Israel over salmonella found in various Israeli products.
The bacterium was discovered on Wednesday in Shamir salads, which contains tahini made by Prince Tahina.
“We received a report on August 7 saying that salmonella bacteria were discovered in tahini produced by the Prince Tahina factory,” said Israeli Public Health Services Director Prof. Itamar Grotto at a press conference. “We discovered that the company had shipped products to Shamir Salads without updating us.”
The IDF had already noticed an alarming rate of bacteria in Shamir salads at the end of June and decided to cease buying the company’s products. Fellow market competitors Strauss and Tzabar were spared the contamination, as they had conducted their own checks on the product.
“We understood that Shamir was marketing contaminated products and told them to recall the products,” added Prof. Grotto. Shamir has subsequently recalled products produced over the last ten days.
Additionally, over 200 tons of Prince Tahina products are to be destroyed. The Health Ministry alleges that the manufacturer had been aware of the contamination since July 24 and that it will be prosecuted for not having reported it.
“I have been working in this business for 30 years and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened,” responded Prince Tahina CEO Afif Tannus. “I take full responsibility.”
The decision came amid heavy criticism leveled recently at the Health Ministry after products infected with bacteria had recently slipped through its safeguards and made it to supermarket shelves.
The Health Ministry also said on Thursday that four tons of camel’s milk produced by Bereshit Milk were destroyed, after two children consuming it were hospitalized with an infection.
The frozen vegetable company Milotal is another company to announce a recall of its products, after it discovered that a line of frozen french fries was infected with Listeria bacteria.
I always tell my five daughters, anyone who says trust me is not worthy of your trust.
Same with completely safe.
Turns out Unilever also enlisted it employees in social networks, which was quickly found out. Hundreds of Unilever’s 2,500 employees in Israel posted messages supporting the company in its crisis—though without identifying themselves.
“Our family is also eating cornflakes without fear. We love you, Unilever and Telma,” ran a typical post.
Yet on Aug. 6, 2016, an increasingly skeptical Israeli press reported that Unilever was claiming that the reason why contaminants had been found in its “Telma” cornflakes is that a warehouse worker took the bar-code off of one of a batch of uncontaminated cereal, and put it on a contaminated batch, sticking it on top of the code marking it as contaminated and not to be sold.
Thus, the company claims, a salmonella-infected batch of cereal got through quality control at the factory and was shipped off to retail outlets in the Petah Tikva area.
Unilever representatives said they have evidence of the fact that a bar-code was taken off of a uncontaminated batch, adding that they are considering involving the police.
That was enough Joe-Biden malarkey for the government.
The ministry said in a statement that it had carried out an inspection of the Arad plant, with the full cooperation of the company, and found Unilever to have been negligent, but not malicious, in running the factory in southern Israel.
The ministry said in a statement that its investigation was ongoing and the source of the bacterial outbreak has not been located.
And the Ministry is considering legal action.
By this morning, “Cornflakes Scandal,” as it has been dubbed, had sparked an investigation of other bacterial contamination among Israeli food manufacturers. A study by business daily Calcalist shows there were 110 incidents of contamination of one type or another among Israeli food manufacturers over the past three years. Nearly all the contamination incidents were contained, with the products kept off supermarket shelves.
With that, at least half the incidents went unreported, with the companies failing to inform the public of the contamination. Currently, there is no law requiring companies to report such incidents, although in the wake of the cornflakes scandal, MK Itzik Shmueli (Zionist Camp) said that he intended to pass legislation that would penalize companies that fail to inform the public in cases of health issues, even before the product reaches supermarket shelves.
Watching a company squirm and regulators attempt to explain past laziness is not comfortable for anyone.
Public health is paramount to a food company’s social contract to operate and profit.
If current business types can’t understand this after at least 25 years of high profile food safety scandals – and that’s just the microbiological ones – maybe shareholders will get in some folks who do understand.
And to whoever is trolling me about the greatness of Unilever Israel, save your bandwidth.