(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Just in time for the High Holy Day season, in which the country partakes in numerous family feasts, the Agriculture Ministry has approved Ukraine as an additional import source for eggs.
Although Israel produces the majority of the roughly 2 billion eggs consumed here annually, egg imports each year amount to about 100 million, the ministry said.
During the times of year when demand exceeds supply, particularly around Rosh Hashana and Passover, the Agriculture Ministry – with the recommendation of the Poultry Council – approves egg imports from Europe in order to prevent a market shortage.
As part of this year’s holiday preparations, the ministry’s Veterinary Services examined two new countries, Ukraine and Italy, as potential egg importers, a ministry statement said. Following audits in both countries, Ukraine received approval, and negotiations are still ongoing with regulatory authorities in Italy, the statement said.
Up until now, the 100 million eggs annually imported hailed from the Netherlands, Spain, and Turkey, according to the ministry. However, due to an outbreak of avian flu in Turkey, imports from Ankara were discontinued – leaving the Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine, and likely Italy as egg sources.
Importers of the European eggs will receive duty-free quotas for their purchases, the ministry added.
To identify the origins of an egg purchased in the supermarket, customers can find a stamp “NL” for the Netherlands, “ES” for Spain, “UA” for Ukraine and “IT” for Italy, assuming the latter receives authorization, the ministry said. Eggs that do not contain letters are locally produced.
The ministry also said that it would be publishing an updated consumer guide with information about the new egg sources.
“Imports of animals and animal products to Israel must comply with Veterinary Service conditions in the Agriculture Ministry, and testing procedures involve mapping the risks involved in importing, including protection of public health and prevention of disease in humans and animals,” the ministry statement said.