"Hazard is more severe than prohibition" - except that vigil against hazards goes via the guarding against prohibitions. Thousands of people were deceived in high class treif restaurants into thinking that they were paying for high quality fare when in truth, they were being served donkey and camel meat whose consumption date had expired and which constituted an actual health hazard. A network of smugglers, including Israelis and Palestinians, supplied the said meat to dozens of restaurants, including leading, expensive ones, and to butcher shops selling treif meat, forging their origin and their veterinary certification, as well as their date of expiry.
Authorities recently broke this extensive smuggling ring that had profited by millions of dollars from the differential in price between their bogus supplies and the cost of real quality meat.
The path of this revolting meat from the Palestinian Authority to the plates of consumers in treif restaurants traverses a variety of methods, beginning with trucks with double sides and culminating with delivery under appalling conditions. It is suspected that their method of operation was as follows: a Palestinian importer bought the meat intended for the Palestinian Authority from South America, and had it delivered to the Haifa port. From there it was transferred to a warehouse in A-Ram and from that station it was successfully smuggled in different ways to Israeli territories through various checkpoints, using sophisticated smuggling trucks and reaching their last stop at the industrial zone in Atarot.
There the meat was repacked with false expiry dates and veterinary certification. This meat, which according to the rules of the Health Ministry was altogether not fit for human consumption, was then supplied to treif butchers and restaurants.
"I myself witnessed many a time how this meat was transported in trucks used for sewage and building supplies," chairman of the Veterinary and Medical Organization, Dr. Moshe Rafalowitz, disclosed to Yated Ne'eman.
Can the consumer today identify meat not fit for human consumption?
"There is no way for the consumer to know this and that is precisely the crux of the problem in the new law which is very puzzling in my eyes. The State has virtually removed all the barriers which impeded the import of this kind of meat. There existed differences of opinion between the Veterinary Authority of the government Agricultural Authority and its government counterpart in the Health Ministry, and this is precisely what the new law sought to conciliate but failed. On the contrary, in the end, they not only bypassed any inspection and control over many products, but the law today does not define any punishment. There are definitions of monetary sanctions against violators but as of now, the punishment is altogether marginal."
Rabbi Refael Manat: "Merchandise of meat can enter and leave anywhere. It is all a matter of packaging which can be changed en route. Only close supervision as is supplied by quality kashrus supervision can guarantee that a product is truly representative of its outside labeling."