During Thursday`s meeting of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, the chief veterinarian of the Shufersal supermarket chain, Dr. Roni Surkis, said ”it is a known fact that in the State of Israel most poultry contain Salmonella. We are strict about this issue as much as possible, but the Health Ministry appears from time to time with news crews and lambasts us.”

MK Yael German (Yesh Atid), a former Health Minister, called to remove all infected poultry from the supermarkets. In response, Dr. Yoni Yinon of the Health Ministry`s National Food Service said: ”There is Salmonella in poultry, as well as other bacteria. This is why they must be cooked. Like everywhere else in the world, we have a national plan to reduce the amount of bacteria. It exists in raw poultry, which should not be consumed without thermal treatment.” Yinon said the Health Ministry is trying to deal with the problem head on, in chicken coops throughout the country.

Committee chairman Elie Elalouf (Kulanu) said in response: ”Your comments are angering, but I am convinced that you do not permit the sale of poultry that are hazardous to the public`s health.”

The committee is currently discussing various clauses within the Arrangements Bill, including a clause dubbed the ”Cornflakes reform” which deals mainly with the removal of bureaucratic obstacles and simplifying the process of importing ”dry” food to Israel, measures that may result in lower food prices for the consumer. However, the clause states that the supervision over the quality of the food items will be strict, particularly when it comes to meat, nutritional supplements and more. According to the proposal, manufacturers, importers and retailers who fail to abide by the law will be punished more severely.

Attorney Lilach Dachuach, representing the Co-Op Blue Square supermarket chain, said the clause which bans the sale of food in violation of the law and ordinances will lead to ”an endless amount of class action lawsuits” against retailers. ”Why should I be held responsible for manufacturing malfunctions such as those in the Remedia case?” she added.

National Food Service director Eli Gordon said in response that ”it is clear that the manufacturer and importer bear more responsibility, but a situation where food is damaged due to improper storage caused by the retailer`s negligence is possible.”

MK Elalouf stressed that ”we will not endanger the consumers` health or knowledge regarding the quality and ingredients of the food they consume.”