On Sunday, a report was released by the Health Ministry in Israel that slammed the Strauss Group for a number of failures and oversights that it believes were responsible for the spread of the salmonella at the factory of the company in Nof Hagalil. Since then, the company has had to recall a huge number of consumer products. The Health Ministry stated that they had taken 300 samples from the factory in question so far and about 30 of them have shown positive results for salmonella. Strauss had first called for a recall of its Elite products last Monday.
Over the next few days, the recall had expanded to include a variety of products, such as gum, ice cream, cookies, chocolate, cakes, candy and wafers. Nachman Ash, the Director of the Health Ministry, announced on Thursday that they would shut down the factory for three months, while an investigation is conducted and the damage is repaired. The Health Ministry mentioned in the Sunday report that there was a host of issues that were the company’s fault. This included the construction work that had been conducted at the factory without taking into account the effects it would have on production.
Similarly, pigeons had also infiltrated the factory and this could have potentially contributed to the salmonella. Likewise, the factory did not have a director for food and safety either and the dairy fats used for producing chocolates also had improper thawing conditions. According to the ministry, the factory had immediately dealt with the problem of the presence of pigeons a few weeks ago. However, they had still been required to conduct tests for determining if the pigeons could have played a role in the salmonella contamination. As of Sunday morning, there are 21 people who have shown symptoms of salmonella poisoning in Israel and may have consumed products that were affected.
The Health Ministry said that they had taken cultures from 16 people and the coming days would show the results. It also disclosed that only six out of the 21 in total had gotten medical treatment for the symptoms. The Health Ministry further added that the Strauss factory’s contamination was not connected to a similar contamination that had affected Kinder chocolate eggs in Belgium. The Israeli public has become extremely concerned over the product recall, which is considered the biggest in their history. It is also a big blow to one of the largest food producers in Israel i.e. the Strauss Group.
There has also been criticism directed towards the company for its failure to inform the public straight away and waiting a week to do so. But, the Health Ministry said that the company had followed all the right guidelines when it came to conducting tests. Strauss has asked customers who believe they have products containing the bacteria to reach out through their customer service or website. They are promising a refund of double the price of the product, but they appear to be experiencing heavy delays in terms of customer service.