Customs officials on Thursday seized two trucks that turned out to be carrying over 10,000 eggs – produced by “Palestinian chickens” and headed for Israeli market shelves.
The eggs were confiscated and destroyed. Officials said that the eggs could be contaminated, and that they had not been properly inspected by agricultural authorities.
The eggs, officials said, were being targeted as fears of a major salmonella outbreak was likely.
The egg smugglers were residents of the northern Arab village of Majd al-Krum, aged in their 20s. The eggs were destined to be sold in the northern city of Karmiel. Police have opened an investigation into their smuggling activities.
In a second egg nabbing, Veterinary Service officials seized a large truck, usually used for carrying oil, that was found to be loaded with illegal eggs – 16,800 of them. The source of these eggs was not known, but they, too, did not pass inspection.
On Wednesday, the Health and Agricultural Ministries announced that they were increasing their supervision of fresh food in order to stem an onslaught of food poisoning caused by salmonella. Recent samplings showed that a new form of salmonella bacteria that had not been seen in Israel before was being detected in high amounts – with ten times more salmonella present than in the past.
While there has not yet been an uptick in the number of salmonella cases, officials said that it was just a matter of time before there was a major outbreak.
Officials urged Israelis to cook food thoroughly in order to avoid getting sick, and to buy only inspected products, including eggs, fruits, and vegetables.