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Elite Chocolate Betrayed Israel
By Micah Halpern

Thursday April 28, 2022
I've Been Thinking:

There has been a salmonella recall on Israeli chocolate made in the Strauss Elite Nazareth plant. Elite was bought by Strauss. Strauss is owned by Unilever. Unilever, of course, has gained notoriety as the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Almost every Israeli has grown up on Elite chocolate. This was a big blow to the Israeli public – from toddler to senior citizen and everyone in between.

The salmonella was first detected by inspectors before Passover - but they did not go public until after Passover so as not to hurt the mood of Passover or, probably more importantly, their bottom line.

Ofra Strauss, the chair of the Strauss Group apologized to the public. She said: "I apologize for letting you down. We pledge that we will fix the flaws and return our products to the shelves only when they are safe."

Eyal Dror, CEO of Strauss Israel, explained the timeline: "About a month before the incident, there were pigeons in the chocolate factory. We got a couple of complaints from one of our clients, and indications of product anomalies, but we didn't listen or look into it, and that's not right."

The “incident” Dror refers to is the time when the salmonella was officially detected – not when the report was released. So they knew of the danger and continued producing chocolate and shipping chocolate for a month.

These executives showed sheer incompetence and a lack of regard for their customers, their health and their wellbeing. That is criminal. They must be prosecuted for their decision and their own words can be used against them.

They just wanted to sell more product.

Think about it. How could pigeons ever be permitted in a sterile food factory. Every worker on the factory floor wears masks, gloves, white coats and those silly looking white shower caps. Look at their videos on Youtube.

This isn’t Purim or Halloween. They wear disposable outfits because when you come into contact with food, you are legally required to sanitize. Everything should be as close to sterile as possible.

What would happen if there were reports of pigeons in an operating room? Would responsible leadership wait a month see if some inspector detects impurities? No way! Not even in Iran!

This is about more than chocolate. There should be national outrage. The board should replace the Elite Strauss leadership.

Strauss Elite decided not to inform the public of a risk and not to shut down. They decided to continue to sell beloved chocolates and ice cream and spreads that they knew was dangerous to consume.

What they did not know was just how dangerous. And that is the biggest legal issue. It was wanton disregard for the health of the public. Management took the risk. Thankfully, no one died.

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8 May 2022 09:59 PM in Thoughts

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