Lebanese Military Called in After Grocery Store Shopper Finds…Israeli-Grown Peppers
The Lebanese military was summoned to a grocery store in Lebanon Tuesday after a shopper discovered Israeli-grown peppers being displayed. Lebanon’s Daily Star reports that the store, Spinney’s, was selling a bag with three kinds of peppers grown in Israel.
The shopper who asked to remain anonymous contacted local authorities who in turn summoned the Lebanese Army. The Daily Star reports:
Members of military intelligence and police arrived to Spinneys to discover 13 similar bags that have the word “Israel” printed on the sale tag.
Police also noticed that the international bar code for the items was scratched with a blue pen and a new code was handwritten on the bag.
Like other Arab countries, Lebanon boycotts Israeli products and services. The Daily Star reports the military is now investigating how the products passed through customs. The same chain reportedly was found ten years ago to have been selling mugs made in Israel.
On Wednesday, Spinneys apologized and emphasized it is committed to the Israel boycott. It released a statement saying: “Spinney’s, in all Arab countries that it operates in … adheres to implementing regulations regarding the boycott on the importing of Israeli products and it has never been accused of breaching [the ban].”
In its defense, it said that identifying the country of origin on the label was difficult, which allowed the product to slip through customs undetected.
“Regrettably, one of the three peppers inside a small number plastic bags had a label stating that it was a product of Israel and neither staff at Spinney’s, merchants in Holland or at Lebanon’s Customs spotted the label because it was inside the packaging and was difficult to spot,” Spinney’s said.
The Daily Star reported in a follow-up piece Wednesday that the peppers’ journey began in Spain, traveled via the Netherlands on Middle East Airlines and landed last week in Lebanon.
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