Step 1, check the label, and if it says product of Israel, do NOT buy.
Fruit and vegetables are one of Israel’s biggest exports and all Israeli agricultural exporters are complicit in Israel’s violations of international law as they operate on stolen Palestinian land.
In case of Medjoul the products are from the Jordan Valley in occupied Palestine, and therefore from an illegal settlement on stolen land. These are not from Israel, these are from illegal settlements.
Step 2, check the label and see if it includes a country of origin. The product must have a country of origin but many do NOT. Do NOT buy if it does not have country of origin listed on the package.
There is at least one supplier in Canada, National Best Food/NBF which imports from Hadiklaim, an Israeli company. Who Profits has clearly documented the source of Hadiklaim’s dates as coming from occupied Palestine and Golan. Also, several countries have had victories of cutting ties to Hadiklaim such as South Africa.
Some products from NBF do say “Product of Israel” but others especially in stores where Arabs and/or Muslims shop have NO country of origin listed. The product simply says “imported by NFB.” This seems to be illegal under Canadian legislation and regulations, and this has been reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. In many cases these products also do not include the other mandatory labeling information such as a “nutrition fact table” or health & nutrition information, and also don’t include mandatory information in both bilingual languages.
In several cases product was found to have “Product of Jordan” on the shelf, but the boxes the bulk product was coming from was labeled NBF with no indication of country. When asked verification was not provided, and no indication that there is any organization from Jordan providing this product.
Step 3: Print & provide this letter to the owner and/or manager of the store. Indicate the product and concerns in the template.
Step 4: provide pictures of the product including the labels (all sides of the box, and shelf labels), along with the store name/address and if possible website, to email@example.com. We will use this information for further follow up with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and/or with the store.
Step 5: tell your friends and your family what you have found, and make them aware of what to look for in regard both product of Israel (dates, other fresh fruits & vegetables, other products). For more info check out Economic Boycott Resource.
Final Step: look for appropriate alternative ideally from Palestine. Labels you can trust are Lara (their product of Palestine), Green World (just arrived May 2019, indicates from Palestinian Authority), Alard, Palestine Just Trade, Jericho Delights (via USA). Do you know others? If not from Palestine, then verify that from Jordan or USA if Medjoul, or consider another source from country of origin you are comfortable with.
Product you should avoid as they are packaged by Hadiklaim include:
GOLDEN VALLEY (as of late 2020 indication is that medjoul from Palestine Garden also have Golden Valley label)
These are some products that have been seen in the last few weeks:
We have written to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) asking them to look into several concerns.
Concerns Raised with Canadian Food Inspection Agency:
Country of Origin
Our understanding of the requirement for fresh fruits and vegetables, which would include dates is that “Product of [Name the country of origin]” needs to be included.
We take this information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website;
The country of origin represents the country in which the fresh fruits or vegetables were grown. The country of origin must be shown on the principal display panel (definition) of imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables and in close proximity to the declaration of net quantity or the grade name. The country of origin declaration must be shown in boldface type in the same size characters as those prescribed for the grade name [269(1), 270(1), 271, SFCR].
What we have seen includes: i) indicating from Israel when in fact from settlements in occupied Palestine; ii) no country of origin; iii) indication on shelf that is from Jordan based on verbal but not verified information; iv) possibly other countries being listed on product.
Nutrition Labeling, Nutrition & Health Claims
We understand that specific requirements in regard to Nutrition labeling including the Nutrition Fact Table are required, with serving sizes and daily intake.
What we noticed was that in many cases under various brands this information was completely missing. The one exception seemed to be the Organic brand.
Our understanding is that the CFIA requirements are than mandatory information including country origin, sizes, business name, nutritional information, nutrition and health claims, and best before dates need to be included in both English and French.
What we noticed is this information is missing on essentially all the products observed.
Request to Canadian Food Inspection made indicating we would appreciate your attention to as quickly as possible addressing this, especially since Ramadan 2019 is underway, and people are purchasing dates for breaking fast/Iftar and Eid.
The letter was sent by registered mail as well as email to CFIA. A follow up letter has been sent by email on May 27, 2019, asking for information on when we would expect to receive a response.
Letters have been sent to several stores including Arz in Scarborough, Rabba Foods and Al Quds Market in Mississauga. Responses are awaited.