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Health Ministry audit cites Strauss failures, pigeons in report on salmonella spread

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

The Strauss Group's offices in Karmiel, northern Israel. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
The Strauss Group's offices in Karmiel, northern Israel. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

A new Health Ministry report slams the Strauss Group for a series of oversights and failures that it believes led to the spread of salmonella at the company’s factory in Nof Hagalil, which has prompted a massive recall.

According to the Health Ministry, out of 300 samples taken so far from the factory in question, about 30 have come back positive for traces of salmonella.

The massive recall of Strauss’s Elite products was first announced last Monday, and expanded over several days to include a wide range of chocolates, wafers, cakes, cookies, ice cream, gum and candy. On Thursday, Health Ministry director Nachman Ash said the factory would be shut down for three months while it works to investigate and repair the damage.

In its report, the Health Ministry cited a range of issues that it blamed on Strauss, including construction work at the factory that was undertaken without concern for its effects on production; an infiltration of pigeons into the factory that could potentially have played a role; the unfilled role of a director of food safety at the factory; and improper thawing conditions for dairy fats used in chocolate production.

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