The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the country’s Ministry of Health say that tehina and hummus products sold to the army by Shamir Salads were contaminated with Salmonella. After finding “health anomalies” in samples from the salads, IDF returned the products to the company.
Two other salad producers, Tsabar (Sabra) and Achla, also reported their products were contaminated with Salmonella, but the problem products were caught and destroyed before the salads reached the market.
With tehina, also spelled tahini, and hummus found on almost every Israeli table, the salad contamination may be a far larger issue for the population there than the recent recall of 120 tons of Unilever Israel’s Telma cereals, also for Salmonella contamination.
Most recently, Shamir Salads recalled thousands of hummus and tehina salad containers, including such retail brands as Yesh, Asli, Hamutag (Victory), Picnik, Yohannanoff, and Salatei Habayit. All carried September 2016 sell-by dates.
The Ministry of Health is focused on raw tehina manufactured by Nesich as the source of the contamination. It is destroying 200 tons of raw tehina made by Nesich, which has been found to contain the Salmonella bacteria. Nesich is a worldwide distributor of raw tehina for making hummus, techina and eggplant salads.
Some of the contaminated raw product had been distributed before the problem was discovered.
Because of the huge popularity of hummas and tehina salads with Israelis, the country’s food industry is worried about the long-range consequences. The ministry was already fending off criticism for its failure to catch the Salmonella contamination in the Telma cereals.
Eli Gordon, the ministry’s director of food services, said that “problems are going to happen; there is no such thing as a perfect record.”
At a Knesset State Control Committee meeting, however, Anat Gavriel of Unilever Israel, which makes Telma cereals, reportedly gave a more heartfelt response to the situation.
“We are feeding the Israel people,” she said, “and that is a great responsibility. I don’t even know how I go to the office anymore. My world has been destroyed.”
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