Tel Aviv (Feb. 2)
– Medical files related to cases of food poisoning during the past decade are under re-examination as a result of an emerging scandal over the marketing of tainted meat from carrion in the guise of freshly slaughtered meat. The criminal practice, with apparent underworld connections, is believed confined to the Haifa area. The secretary of the Israel Poultry Raisers Union has been arrested on charges of selling diseased turkeys for human consumption.
Similarly, one of the largest meat wholesalers in Haifa is under detention for allegedly supplying carrion to kosher butchers, sausage manufacturers, restaurants and catering establishments. Although Jerusalem and central and southern regions of the country are believed to be free of tainted meat, there has been a dramatic drop in meat consumption among all Israelis while book dealers report an upsurge in demand for vegetarian and dairy cookbooks.
ARRESTS FOLLOW POLICE PROBE
The scandal broke as a result of a parliamentary question asked three months ago by MK Shulamit Aloni of the Civil Rights Movement. A police investigation that followed led to the arrests of Arab villagers, Jewish butchers and indications of lax Kashrut supervision.
Two weeks ago, police discovered that an Arab family named Shalhabi, from Sulam village in the Jezreel Valley, has been profiting for the past 12 years from the sale of the carcasses of diseased cattle and poultry to meat wholesalers and processors.
The Shalhabis gathered the carrion from scores of kibbutzim in northern Israel, ostensibly for sale as dog food. Kibbutz spokesmen said they had no idea it was being marketed to butchers and thought the Arab clan was doing them a favor by clearing the land of the carcasses.
Rabbinical authorities seized on the scandal to exhort Jews to eat only kosher meat. But the police say that kashrut supervision in slaughter-houses and packing plants may have been lax and that forged kashrut certificates adorn the walls of many slaughter-houses and butcher shops, supplied by underworld sources.