Free from the dilemma of buying the free-range or organic eggs (I own my own coop with eight hens), the Israeli government has decided to make a law that will require the Made-In label on every egg sold in Israeli supermarkets. The public was aghast apparently at the news that millions of the eggs sold on the local market do not originate in Israel, but come from countries such as Turkey which does not control for salmonella. Some 80 million eggs are imported to Israel every year from Turkey, more than half of the 3 percent of all foreign imports and the health inspection on these eggs are limited, according to Haaretz. Some of them are sold under the Tnuva label, which includes pictures of hens out to pasture in verdant fields. Likely the opposite of how these eggs are raised.
The egg market in Israelis huge, turning over NIS 710 million a year (about $177 million USD). The dominant players are Tnuva with a 44% market share, followed by Glicksman (21%) and M. Lesser with 10%.
According to surveys more than 80 percent of Israelis would buy local eggs if given the choice, so the companies have an interest to hide this information from consumers. The new labelling would include a code that tells the conditions in which the chickens were raised.
The label law was reported this week in Haaretz, and it comes on the heels of last summer’s tent protests and an Israeli public that is demanding more and more transparency in food prices and the food market in general. I hope for all Israelis that the egg effort to label every egg will pay off in other directions too. There have been scandals in Israel over re-frozen beef and frozen fish from China pumped with water. And as they come to awareness, one firm has found outrageous levels of potential carcinogens in ceramic pots and pans.
Just today a local water report testing water at the tap from municipalities throughout Israel found unreasonable levels of heavy metals being supplied to homes throughout the country. A vast majority of the problems were found in Arab towns and villages. While the government regularly tests water in its municipal pipes, with the water coming up clean, this is the first time that water was tested at the taps. Outdated pipes are the reason for the unusually high levels of contaminants in the water, the report (and not yet online) stated.
So you’ve got a label on your eggs. One that you can feel good about. It’s time for the public to know where all our food comes from so that suppliers will be forced to be transparent, and the public better able to make educated decisions with their pockets.
Image of organic eggs from Shutterstock