​​Ministry of Agriculture: We have prevented another attempt to sell 5 tons of smuggled vegetables posing a health hazard to us all

Inspectors from the Central Investigation and Enforcement Unit (PITZUACH) in the Ministry of Agriculture foiled yet another attempt to smuggle 5 tons of vegetables of various kinds: Aubergine, okra, zucchini and mulukhiyah, all destined for sale in Israel. The truck driver has been remanded in custody and the produce has been sent to be destroyed. An initial interrogation of the driver, an East Jerusalem resident in his fifties, found that he had planned to sell the produce he had smuggled in the Beer Sheva area.

In view of the seizure, the Ministry of Agriculture recommends that the public refrain from buying fruit and vegetables grown in Gaza since they do not undergo testing prior to being sold. The warning comes following several recent cases where goods destined for sale in Israel have been found. Since the beginning of the year, 81 attempts to smuggle fruit and vegetables from the Palestinian Authority territories have been intercepted, totaling 25 tons.

According to the Agricultural Produce Sale Law, there are several prerequisites for the entry of agricultural produce into the country. Among them: goods have to pass through legally regulated crossings; the produce must be sampled for microbiological residues and pesticide residues to ensure the produce has been watered with suitable water and treated with permitted substances, etc. Therefore, uninspected agricultural produce poses a public health hazard on the one hand, and may lead to the penetration of pests and diseases, which may be devastating for many crops.

The Ministry of Agriculture emphasizes that the vegetables originating from Gaza, which are permitted for sale in Israel following thorough inspection and after organized importation are tomatoes and aubergines only. If you have come across crates of other fruit and vegetables, stating that their origin is from Gaza, dispose of them in the trash and report to the Ministry of Agriculture inspectors via a 24/7 hotline at the following number: *9096.