Photo: Tomer Rahamim
The Poultry Council's enforcement unit this week thwarted the smuggling of 1.5 tons of rotten meat from the Palestinian Authority into Israel. The beef was transferred to the Palestinians as a humanitarian gesture from Brazil, but after it went bad, they decided to try to market it in Israel.
The stale meat was seized Saturday night, after Poultry Council inspectors spotted a Toyota van making its way from Umm Reihan to Barta'a in the Wadi Ara region.
The inspectors, who were waiting to catch egg smugglers, realized that the vehicle was making its way to northern Israel with goods from the territories. "The vehicle appeared to be sinking as the merchandise was so heavy," said Tomer Rahamim of the enforcement unit.
'Gastric trouble avoided'
The inspectors ordered the driver to stop near a Border Guard base in Harish, and found 70 boxes inside the vehicle, carrying 24 kilograms of meat each.
The van's driver said he was asked to transfer the goods from a truck which came from the territories to a truck on Highway 65 in Wadi Ara. According to Rahamim, "The driver said the truck waiting for him on the road was to market the meat in the northern region."
The driver, a resident of the Arab town of Tayibe, was detained for questioning and will be indicted in the coming days. The rotten meat was handed over to the Agriculture Ministry and was destroyed. An examination revealed that it was transferred to the PA from Brazil.
"They took the good meat, and tried to market the meat that went bad. They replaced the old stickers with a new expiry date," said Rahamim. "This meat is kept and transported without any veterinary conditions, and when it reaches restaurants and stores the buyer has no idea where it came from. I assume that had the meat reached its destination, many people would have suffered from gastric trouble during Passover."
Members of the Poultry Council's enforcement unit are working day and night to prevent the smuggling of eggs from the PA into Israel. Some 6,000 eggs caught on three different occasions this week have been destroyed.