Nine people, from both Israel and Palestine, have been arrested this week for the alleged smuggling of meat from South America into Israel, according to local media reports in Israel that cite the police investigation.
Images online taken by Israel’s police show stacks of boxes of packaged meat that were seized by officials. Some meat products have a sticker of the Argentinian flag on the packaging, alluding to the fact the meat may have come from South America.
Since the turn of the year, Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture has worked in partnership with the police and Health Ministry to crack down on meat smuggling.
363 smuggling attempts thwarted
“The Ministry of Agriculture is constantly working to prevent attempts to smuggle and sell unregulated meat,” said Roie Kliger, head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Central Investigation and Enforcement Unit.
“Seizures of smuggled meat are based on extensive intelligence, which allows the Unit’s inspectors to locate trucks smuggling meat or any other agricultural produce. I stress that the sale and operating of unauthorised meat plants without permits and supervision are strictly prohibited. Seizures of this sort are very significant, as they may have implications for public health.”
According to Israeli government figures, its Ministry of Agriculture has prevented up to 14,000 kilograms of meat being smuggled into the country in 2016 alone. Over the last three years the ministry has claimed to have thwarted around 363 separate attempts to smuggle meat into Israel.