Following the announcement of the expansion of the recall and the announcement by the Ministry of Health of the closure of the Strauss-Elite chocolate factory in the Galilee landscape for about three months, the Strauss Group held its first press conference today (Thursday), with the participation of the group’s chairman Strauss and other members of the management at the company’s headquarters in Petah Tikva.
“The topic of this meeting today is the recall of our products, consumers ‘homes and customers’ shelves, and I say here on behalf of the company in a clear voice – I look into the eyes of the citizens of the country and everyone who is hurt apologizes for disappointing you , “Excellence and quality have accompanied Strauss to what they do, to success over the years. They are the basis for everything we do, I’m sure some of you have been privileged to hear the late Avi Michael as quality as a supreme value. A very simple and clear equation. The Strauss plant malfunction is severe. We will repair everything that requires repair. “Food safety is not compromised.”
“The decision on Monday on the recall was not easy to make, but safety is above all. We will open the factory gates only when we meet the highest standards, we will draw the lessons. Everyone in the food industry knows – food safety is not compromised. An event of this magnitude does not “We’ve never been through this, and it’s the biggest recall we’ve had. We’ll open the factory gates just to meet the high standards we set for ourselves. I promise we’ll do everything we can to not disappoint you and get things back in order,” she added.
She added: “I am the chairman of the company and a partner in all the decisions made in the last week, in the last week everyone has been working nights and days in the company. “And I note how hard they work, because in the last two years, when many of us have been sitting in homes, this system has gone to work every day as usual, so they also apologized because they work twice as hard to correct the same mistake.”
Strauss Group CEO Giora Bar-Dea: “We were in the factory and seeing it not working and on the other hand the customers with the products that are returned in carts – these are not easy days. For us people who have been here for decades to see the factory desolate, to see the shelves empty, it is very difficult. We need to understand how important it is for us from the brand to the worker in the factory – not easy days. We make decisions in a situation of uncertainty. We are known as a company that every few years tests its vision and values, but the moment of truth that comes with decisions of this kind puts us to the test. The first principle that guided us: zero compromises, the second principle – transparency, which is from the grace of trust. ”
“The third point is business continuity, we look all stakeholders in the eye to see what is most important. We did some things wrong, there were glitches and there was a kind of failure. We fully share the Ministry of Health staff. We have the next day and we want to be excellent at it. “This is a huge task and we believe we will meet it,” he said.
Later, Strauss Israel CEO Eyal Dror said: “Last week was not an easy week, we are not used to being in such situations. The factory in Nof Hagalil has about 750 employees who love the place and part of our large family, for him it is a very big and significant event. I’ll try to make you some order. The site in Nof Hagalil – Liquid Chocolate Factory One factory and the other factory nearby is the candy factory. Each of our plants has a risk plan that analyzes the production stages in the plant, this is a dedicated plan and approved by the Ministry of Health. We in our factory implement this plan, of course. ”
Dror detailed the salmonella testing process at the plant and said that “on Thursday we received first answers from suspects from the test at the plant we did – that day we worked in an orderly fashion with the first office. Back from the chocolate production process. On Tuesday of this week we got two suspicious results from samples of more products, because we had already gone out for a recall so the same products were in the same middle. That day at night we decided we did not wait For the recall of all products. ”
“I can already say that there are some not-so-simple and not-so-simple flaws that we exposed to the Ministry of Health and we will have to address. This was one of the reasons we decided to do what we did. In the weeks before the first discovery we did a renovation The incident was identified in our liquid chocolate factory, sometimes these things happen. We had to behave differently, do not know which of these gaps led to the incident. We will of course have to deal with it. We went hand in hand with the Ministry of Health throughout the incident and used them quite a bit. “We will do everything to be ready for production, but we will not compromise even when we had the slightest suspicion. We always went two steps forward. We did not finish the test and if we find out more things then we will take care of them as well,” he added.
He says, “We try to give an answer, help, advice to everyone who applies. And we compensate everyone who bought our products and had to throw them away. We will continue this process and from Sunday we will start the process of returning the product to routine, draw lessons and re-examine many procedures. From Sunday, we will begin the process of returning the plant to routine and draw the lessons. ”
Asked whether the procedure should have been started as early as the deadline, Eyal Dror said that “during the entire Passover period we received a first indication. There was no room to announce then and create panic, because it was only a first indication of something suspicious. “A full commitment to the workers in the Galilee landscape. I do not yet know how long it will take us to take care of the factory, we will be smarter in the next week or two.”
“We work according to the Ministry of Health’s procedures and our strict procedures. ‘In Sabra’ in the US there was no recall, the audit found deficiencies in the infrastructure and not in the products. “We follow strict FDA procedures,” Barada said in response to questions, adding that “worldwide we will be tested through local companies.”
The Group’s VP of Technology, Prof. Eyal Shimoni, clarified that “Listeria is not a source of risk, Salmona as well, and therefore it is infected by a unique test, when expanding a sample, more places can be reached. The source of salmonella is probably not cocoa beans, we are trying to figure out what the specific source of the bacterium we have is. We may know the source. ”
“As for the workers, there are really no cuts and layoffs expected, doing everything that needs to be returned to the industry as soon as possible,” Strauss added, “Our job at a time like this is to support our workers. “It’s a mega event.”
Earlier this morning, the director general of the Ministry of Health, Prof. Nachman Ash, Dr. Sharon Elrai Price, head of public health services, and Pnina Oren Schneider, head of the national food service at the Ministry of Health, arrived at the Galilee Landscape plant to closely monitor the failures.
When the team arrived at the scene, senior officials made a statement, during which Prof. Ash said: “There are a number of cases of salmonella, and there is a possibility that this is due to eating products from this plant. We are examining this link. We detect an increase in salmonella reports. “Because there is simply awareness. Salmonella will spread? It depends on whether the raw material spreads in more factories. We assume it has stopped because of the cessation of work in the factory.”
Dr. Elrai-Price added: “The importance of visiting the factory is because failures have been discovered. The plant understands and does the learning process and does full-time work with the district staff and food service team. We work in cooperation so that the factory returns to safe operation quickly. ”