Palestinians find new reason to boycott Israel: Salmonella and Listeria

Past boycott attempts have been unsuccessful, because Israeli products are popular in the Palestinian market since they are thought to be of higher quality.

Shoppers buy Israeli food products at a Ramallah supermarket in 2003 (photo credit: JAMAL ARURI / AFP)
Shoppers buy Israeli food products at a Ramallah supermarket in 2003
(photo credit: JAMAL ARURI / AFP)
Following a string of recalls among a number of popular Israeli food products, some Palestinians are using recalls as another reason to boycott products from Israel.
According to Israeli financial daily Calcalist, the Ramallah-based Consumer Protection Society called on the Palestinian Authority’s Economy Ministry to remove halva products by partnered companies Baracke and Hilal from the shelves of Palestinian sellers. Hilal is based in the Arab-Israeli village of Umm el-Fahm.
The call for removal came after Rushdie Food Industries, which owns both Baracke and Hilal, decided voluntarily to recall some of its halva products last Wednesday as a precautionary measure in case there may have been contamination during the production process. The company emphasized, however, that Salmonella had not been found in the recalled items.
Meanwhile, PLO official Mustafa Barghouti and a few other PA politicians said such instances of contamination are one more reason to boycott completely all Israeli products.
The PA warned consumers of the contaminated products once the recalls were announced in Israel, but it has not lent support to these most recent boycott attempts. However, beginning on February 11, 2015, it reversed course by forbidding stores in PA territories from selling products by Strauss Group, Tnuva, Osem, Elite, Prigat and Jafora-Tabori, though none of these companies had been flagged for contamination at the time.
Hanasich Tahina, a subsidiary of Shamir Salads, which reported a salmonella contamination on August 11, was not part of the boycott call because of its Arab owners. Listeria bacteria was also found in 330-gram packages of Shamir’s tahini salad in early August.
Israeli products are quite popular in the Palestinian market because they are thought to be of higher quality than Palestinian ones. For this reason, decades worth of boycott attempts have been unsuccessful. However, in the past month, a number of the especially beloved prepared salads and tahini-based products have been recalled due to contamination.