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.
Adi Dovrat-Meseritz of Haaretz reports that after refusing for several days to say which batches of its Telma Cornflakes and Delipecan breakfast cereals were contaminated with salmonella, yesterday Unilever Israel published the production codes and dates of the affected products. They included Cocoman, a brand that was not mentioned in earlier reports.
Unilever Israel insists that the contamination was found in the course of routine testing in the factory and that none of the affected production batches left the plant. The multinational that owns the veteran Israeli food maker did not say which strain of salmonella was involved.
Supermarket chains reported that sales of Cocoman plunged 25% after Unilever Israel’s latest disclosure. They said total sales in the breakfast-cereal category fell by single-digit percentage points as a result of the affair.
Unilever has sought to assure consumers that its products are safe and the contaminated items have been quarantined for destruction, but the crisis has not passed yet.
“Sales of the entire breakfast cereals category are not going down. As in previous crises, in this one also, other players are benefiting from Unilever’s crisis. The questionable items are being hit particularly hard. 750-gram packages of Cornflakes of Champions have been affected, mainly because of the top billing given to the story by the media. Sales of this product have fallen 30 percent in three days. The drop was steeper on Friday. The power of the response surprised me, too; it is not a minor event,” a senior market figure commented.
The contamination was divulged only after inquiries were made following an unexplained shortage in the supply of Unilever cornflakes. It was widely perceived as an attempt to cover up the problem. Unilever admitted that the contamination was discovered a month ago, though it kept the information from the public until now.
“It appears that Unilever is having trouble realizing that the market has changed. They don’t understand that the rules of the game have changed. Even if what they did was legal, and I believe that [they] acted in accordance with the law, they did not act according to the new public norms, and I believe that they will learn their lesson. Unfortunately, Unilever Israel CEO Anat Gabriel has difficulty understanding what a crisis is and how to deal with it. It sticks out like a sore thumb,” the industry source said.
Meanwhile, Unilever has gone into massive damage control, with large ads headlined, “Telma Cereals are Safe to Eat.” “All Telma products in the stores and in your homes are completely safe to eat,” the ad claims.
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.
Boxes of the products have disappeared from supermarket shelves in recent days, reportedly due to salmonella contamination in a Unilever plant. The company previously denied that its manufacturing was contaminated.
Unilever may have to destroy tens of thousands of cereal boxes due to the contamination, according to Israeli media reports.
Unilever told TheMarker that the company had stopped delivery of hundreds of tons of breakfast cereal Thursday morning, following the discovery of a secondary contamination in one of the production lines. “A number of products did not fill the company’s rigorous microbial requirements, so we decided not to market those products,” the company said.
Later in the day, Unilever confirmed that the suspected contaminant was salmonella.
A similar incident occurred about a month ago, causing cereal shortages in food chains.
Unilever said at the time that “a suspicion of salmonella” was found in one of its production lines, which had been deactivated for 24 hours before resuming action.
The company first said this week’s shortage was caused by that break in production, as well as unprecedented demand for the cereals due to reductions.
One baby is in serious condition, and two are suffering from kidney failure, according to reports.
The infection apparently originated from the petting zoo area of the Kibbutz. The Ministry of Health is currently performing tests and ordered to temporarily close the nursery where the children were infected.