Customs officials on a routine check of the central post office in Haifa on Tuesday found a large amount of what some consider to be edible delicacies in seven containers originating from Thailand. The strong smell emanating from the mail items aroused the suspicions of the experienced officials, who called on a crack drug and money laundering unit to check the containers. Upon further inspection, members of the elite unit found dried frogs, toads and huge cockroaches, all ready for human consumption.
Due to the strong scent that seemed to indicate something rotten, and a suspicion of drug-running, customs officials handled the containers with gloves and masks. The containers were immediately confiscated and officers began an investigation into the matter.
Investigators have not yet identified who sent the goods but disclosed that the packages, which appeared to be innocent and legitimate, were addressed to several different locations in the north.
Haifa Customs Authority head Yakov Yahav told Israel Hayom, "The mail packages contained frogs, toads, cockroaches and all kinds of dung beetles and dried insects that are prohibited for import."
According to Yahav, the cockroaches were very large and not the kind that exist in Israel. "Each cockroach was 6 to 7 centimeters (2 to 3 inches) long and we believe they were meant for human consumption, although we did not find any recipes among the frogs, toads and beetles," he said.
Yahav said that some frogs and toads arrived whole but the bags contained some frogs legs as well, which are common delicacies in some Far Eastern countries. "Israelis who have visited Thailand know what we are talking about," he said.
In response to a question concerning the health and sanitation aspect of the find, Yahav said, "One of the tasks of customs officials is to protect the public's health and we are devoted to doing that."