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Edwina Curry Redux


Eerily reminiscent of the misinformed 1988 statement by Edwina Curry, then Deputy Minister of Health in the U.K. that a high proportion of table eggs were contaminated with Salmonella, we now have Dr. Sagit Nagar, Head of Poultry Diseases of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Department making a similar claim thirty years later in 2018.


Nagar maintains that 30 percent of eggs in Israel are infected with Salmonella including S. Enteritidis.  The Director-General of the Agriculture Ministry, Ariel Whitman in a scathing commentary on the safety of domestic eggs stated, “I personally refrain from eating eggs from Israel.”  


The problem of Salmonella infection in Israel extends back over 40 years. For security reasons the government placed immigrants from Eastern Europe along the border with Lebanon sponsoring small family units operating 5,000 to 10,000 hens.  Since this time there has been a measure of consolidation by Moshavim but many of the units are decrepit and inconsistent with acceptable standards of hygiene.  Due to the socialistic policies of successive governments and a virtual monopoly over distribution of eggs by Tnuvia, the situation has persisted.  Obviously, the Ministry would like to resolve the problem by dealing with fewer larger modern egg production units operated according to a standard reflecting the E.U. and North America.


Control of Salmonella in substandard units is impossible and a radical restructuring of egg production will be required.  As with any large-scale initiative established applying socialistic principles the participants are looking to the government to provide financial support and other assurances before committing to rehabilitation or construction.