​​Ministry of Agriculture inspectors uncovered approximately 50 kg of fruit and vegetables being smuggled at Tel Aviv Airport and at the Allenby Crossing

The smugglers imported the agricultural produce from Paris and Indonesia • Among the surprises: pineapples, various exotic fruits, cauliflower, chicory and also ants and other insects

It seems there are people who just cannot make do with the plethora of agricultural produce available in Israel. On an incoming flight from France to Israel, the Plant Protection Service inspectors at the Ministry of Agriculture uncovered no less than 30 kg of pineapples, cauliflower and other vegetables, plus ants, insects and pests. An inquiry with the passenger found that this was not his first attempt at smuggling. The Ministry of Agriculture inspectors were familiar with the French tourist, who has already attempted to smuggle agricultural produce but has been caught. The Ministry began an investigation of the incident. 

And that’s not all: in an innocent-looing orange suitcase, the Plant Protection and Inspection Services inspectors at the Allenby Bridge discovered 20 kg of fruit, including the tropical mangosteen, rambutan and longan fruits, which had been transported to Jordan and from there to the Allenby Bridge. The inspectors arrested two passengers who were in possession of the suitcase, and in their interrogation they found out they were returning from Indonesia with this haul via the Allenby Bridge. 

Ofra Evron, Acting Manager of Imports at the Plant Protection and Inspection Services in the Ministry of Agriculture: “Importation of plants and plant products from abroad unsupervised, could potentially introduce pests and diseases which could potentially wreak irreversible damage to plants and agriculture in the State of Israel as well as posing a morbidity threat to humans and plants. The damage caused by the introduction of new diseases can be seen at several level, where the price is being paid by the entire population in the country. This includes direct harm to humans and animals, increased costs of agricultural produce, degradation of the quality of the produce, harm to agricultural production, closure of export markets, environmental damage and degradation of the quality of life. It is important to remember that no plant produce should be introduced into Israel from other countries”.