Health officials inspect Tnuva factory after animal parts found in frozen veggies

Ministry says food safety and control plans at Sunfrost facility need improvements, calls for more supervisors throughout production process

An illustrative photo of Sunfrost frozen vegetables in Jerusalem on August 21, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
An illustrative photo of Sunfrost frozen vegetables in Jerusalem on August 21, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Health Ministry on Monday said inspectors made a snap visit last week to a factory producing food manufacturing giant Tnuva’s Sunfrost frozen vegetable line, after animal parts were found in their products multiple times recently.

The ministry said the factory’s food safety and control plans needed improvements and that more supervisors would be required at the various stages of production, including sorting to ensure no foreign objects are present.

“The plant must continue to operate at all stages… in order to continue to work to reduce foreign bodies being found in the products,” the ministry said.

It added that the factory must also continue to investigate the incidents themselves, alongside overseas quality-control experts, to help the company reorganize its procedures and ensure incidents do not recur.

In a statement, Tnuva said it had appointed Prof. Ronni Gamzu, the director of Ichilov Hospital and former director of the Health Ministry, to head a panel of experts that would investigate the incidents.

Last week, Tnuva apologized to customers after animal parts were found in the Sunfrost products.

A Tnuva plant near Jerusalem on May 1, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Tnuva CEO Eyal Melis said, “We apologize to customers and clients and take full responsibility. The company apologizes for the inconvenience caused to customers.”

Earlier this month, one customer found a mouse head in a packet of Sunfrost frozen green beans, and parts of a snake and a dead snail were found in two other separate incidents. However, Tnuva, Israel’s largest manufacturer, initially insisted on a narrow recall limited to products sharing a batch number.

According to a report on Channel 12 news, Tnuva only agreed to a wider recall after the Health Ministry issued a legal threat. Tnuva continues to insist that its products undergo sterilization and therefore remain safe to eat.

Customers who find anything untoward in their Tnuva frozen vegetable products or are eligible for a refund were encouraged to call the company’s customer service hotline at 1-800-282-844.

Ash Obel contributed to this report.

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