The so-called “Cornflakes reform,” which promises to reduce the cost of cereal products to the Israeli consumer, won approval by the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, for debate and voting in the Knesset plenum, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The measure, part of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s agenda to bring down the cost-of- living, will ease regulation on dry food importers, to lower prices and raise competition in the Israeli market.
Committee chairman MK Eli Alalouf predicted annual savings for the average consumer will be in the hundreds of shekels. It is hoped that this will especially help the poor, who spend an increasing share of their income on food.
According to provisions of the bill, importers will no longer be required to furnish original documentation from the food producer, and will be entitled to a one-day turnover time for bringing in food once they have declared their legal compliance.
To offset concerns over food safety, penalties will be stiffer for violations such as selling food unfit for human consumption, use of prohibited additives and ingredients, and mislabeling. Fines will range up to NIS 900,000 or two years imprisonment for violators, and the Health Ministry will be able to impose financial sanctions of between NIS 8,000 and NIS 40,000.
However, regulatory standards will remain high on sensitive items such as baby food, meat and dairy products and dietary supplements.
On the other hand, locally produced meat will no longer require testing during the transport process. This will be made up for by increased veterinary supervision at factories and points of sale.