a different side of Israel

Tiv Taam: Strike Three

Tiv Taam CatAhh, Tiv Taam: that non-kosher Israeli supermarket chain that always seems to be in the news these days – from an adverse publicity mode, that is. Once again the chain has been the subject of intense investigation by the Channel 2 TV watch dog program, Kolbotek, narrated by Rafi Ginat. And as in previous investigations, the problem still seems to center around the way the chain’s poultry products are handled prior to sale to the general public.

For some reason, the big ‘beef’ against this chain, which still enjoys high popularity among the Israeli public, especially those from the former Soviet Union, continues to be in regards to how chicken and other poultry products, including eggs, are received, processed, and eventually sold. Kolbotek recently sent several of its secret cameramen to Tiv Taam’s main meat processing plant in Rishon L’Zion, outside of Tel Aviv. What appeared to transpire there is definitely an eye-opener, as it was divulged that boxes of fresh poultry delivered to the location are left sitting in the unloading area for hours before finally taken into the plant’s cold storage rooms. No matter if it rained or shined, the boxes might be left sitting there for a long enough period to ‘culture’ millions of e coli and salmonella bacteria, as well as a host of other creepy crawlies.

What really amazed most viewers, however was the presence of scores of fat cats who wandered around the premises at will and feasted on meals of raw chicken and other meat products. It wasn’t that Tiv Taam employees felt sorry for the cats and threw them tasty tidbits. The cats received their nourishment from the chickens that had been delivered to the plant for sale to Tiv Taam customers! None of cats appeared to be hungry; and in fact, most of them were even a great deal overweight. One cat in particular was photographed near some “food” and didn’t touch it as he (or she) had already eaten more than enough.

Cat and other animal lovers are probably thrilled to hear about how well this company is taking care of its “feline friends” Others, however, are not too happy to learn about this. Rafi and the Kolbotek gang also referred back to previous Tiv Taam transgressions which included ‘doctoring’ up chickens with a vinegar and water solution to remove the spoiled smell from poultry that was ‘way past it’s selling prime’. The excessively large numbers of bacteria found on the poultry at that time (nearly two years ago) was way above the maximum limit for safe human consumption. The cats don’t seem to mind all those ‘bugs’, however.

Throughout all of these investigations, little or not mention of the company’s non-kosher or treiff meat products have been mentioned, other than the fact that these products are sold in large quantities; as well as non-kosher fish products including shellfish and sturgeon. Perhaps the Kolbotek people know that it’s better to keep a “hands off” approach to the non-kosher meats in order to placate religious viewers. All of this adverse publicity has no doubt delighted the religious public, who would like to see the chain, which is open on the Sabbath and religious holidays closed down for good.

It’s too bad that the people running this chain didn’t get the message and clean up their act before the entire problem reached this stage. For many, Tiv Taam has been a nice alternative to many of the regular kosher supermarkets who seem to always have the same grocery products and are even a bit on the boring side. Being open on the weekends has also been a plus, especially when people run out of certain items; especially vegetables, bread and dairy products.

This is the third time that Tiv Taam has been hauled onto the carpet regarding it’s poultry products (the second time involved eggs not under refrigeration and sold long after their saleable date). The company’s owners, who tried recently to unload the food chain on Billionaire Arkady Gaydamak, don’t seem to care about all the bad vibes being received. It may still be a bit premature, but with “three strikes” against them, Tiv Taam may discover that as in the case of an American Major League baseball game, they could be on the verge of ‘striking out’!


  1. I’m surprised that the government allows the store to function with all of these violations!

    If they were in the US, they would have been sanctioned by the health department, not to mention the media as a whole.

    Why is the public (as well as the government) allowing this to continue?

    There are some things about Israel that I get, and others just quite baffle me.

  2. Who in the regulatory chain of command stands to gain, probably some buddy of Olmert

  3. Tiv Taam pays a very heavy amount of fines for selling non kosher products – and being open on the Sabbath and religious holidays. They also hire a considerable number of Arab employees, most of whom are undoubtedly Moslem. It doesn’t appear to bother these people to be around pork products, even though this is stictly forbidden in the Quran. The fines (and probably bribes as well)that Tiv Taam’s owners pay are just the cost of doing business.

    The health hazard problem is another matter, though.

  4. I popped into Tiv Taam and it appears to be business as usuall.

    I just wonder what would happen if they sent out their own undercover crews to check out the KOSHER meat processing plants, including those like Tnu-Off (one of lthe largest poultry processors in Israel).

    It might be amazing what would be disclosed. It used to be said that the non-kosher Maadinei Mizrah meat processing plant at Kibbutz Mizrah was the cleanest in the country – far more than kosher plants. I bet this is still true!

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