Labeling of Eggs to Show Where They Come From

New rules would require eggs be marked with a code to indicate conditions in which the chickens that laid them are kept.

The Agriculture Ministry is proposing new standards that would require every egg sold to the consumer to be marked with a range of information including its country of origin.

In May, the ministry acknowledged that existing regulations already require eggs to be marked with their country of origin, and initially said the rule would be enforced as of September. That never happened but it is expected to be put into force as part of the new regulations.

According to the law firm Sherman, Landau & Schutz, Ivri, which filed a class action suit claiming misleading consumer practices in the sale of imported eggs, about 380 million of the eggs sold in Israel in recent years were imported from abroad, over half of which came from Turkey. The firm alleges that eggs' country of origin is not marked on them, despite existing regulations and despite the fact that Turkey does not require its chickens to be inoculated against salmonella, as Israel does.

The new rules would also require that eggs be marked with other information, including a code to indicate the conditions in which the chickens that laid them are kept, ranging from free-range to caged.

The proposed regulations are expected to come into force in the coming months, according to Uri Tzuk-Bar of the Agriculture Ministry. The new rules require the approval of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, which continues to sit despite the dissolution of the Knesset, he explained.

(Adi Dovrat-Meseritz )