The criminal was convicted on four counts of transporting and selling eggs in a manner which constituted a public health hazard • This is a relatively severe sentence compared with sentences handed down in the past on similar charges
The Haifa Magistrates Court has convicted a criminal for a string of offenses which could spread diseases and endanger the public while smuggling and selling eggs. He was sentenced to 7 months in jail, fines totaling NIS 45,000, and a financial undertaking of NIS 50,000 not to repeat this offense. According to the court ruling, the jail term is to be served as work in community service. This is the third conviction of this defendant on the same charge and, accordingly, the punishment is one of the most severe ever handed down to food smugglers. For the most part, court punishments for similar offenses add up to fines only, with the occasional suspended sentence.
This story began two and a half years ago when Mohammad Amasha, in his 40s, was firsts arrested for transporting unstamped eggs without a bill of lading, possession and sale in a manner endangering public health. However, it appears that was not enough to deter him and one year later he was caught again for the same offense. Less than one month later, he was caught a third and fourth time by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Central Investigation and Enforcement Unit (PITZUACH) inspectors.
According to the indictment the Ministry of Agriculture submitted, Amasha was caught smuggling over 4,500 eggs each time. The eggs were not supervised according to the Ministry of Agriculture’s veterinary services guidelines - they were not packed as required, they had not been sorted at a sorting station, they were not dated with an expiry date and they were not marked with a stamp from a sorting station licensed to sell them. Furthermore, the eggs were being transported without the required bill of lading from the Egg and Poultry Board. The defendant’s interrogation found that he had been planning to sell and distribute the eggs in the north.
A Ministry of Agriculture repeats its warning that when eggs are kept under improper conditions, the risk of salmonella morbidity increases and there is, therefore, a substantial public health hazard as a result. Similarly, the absence of controlled sorting and removal of cracked eggs, blood stains and mold, as well as failure to store the eggs under a homogeneous temperature, facilitates proliferation of the bacteria, endangering public health.