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McDonalds breaks potato monopoly, with plans to build own plant in Israel.

Take that, Tapud! Even if it can never import french fries for its fast food restaurants in Israel McDonald's isn't about to depend on the "monopoly" that currently controls the market there.

Instead, it has teamed up with a group of Israeli investors to build its own processing plant. Plans for the new facility were announced June 28, just as the Israeli cabinet was once again rejecting McDonald's application for permission to import some $500,000 worth of fries.

Trade Minister Micha Harish had tried to change the minds of fellow cabinet ministers, after a local fast food chain, Burger Ranch, joined McDonald's in appealing the ban imposed at the behest of Agriculture Minister Ya'acov Tsur. But Tsur wouldn't budge, and the only other member of the cabinet to come out against the ban was Education Minister Ammon Rubinstein. Harish vowed to press the fight at a full cabinet meeting (several ministers were absent when the latest vote was taken).

McDonald's had complained that Tapud couldn't even meet the fast food chain's specifications for french fries, which are the same all over the world, and that the Israeli producer's prices are too high, in any case. Tapud insisted that it could so tailor its fries to any specifications. Since the government is very protective of its food industry, the cabinet went along with the import ban.

Although Israel exports a number of products, from corn to orange juice, it apparently has been having trouble making potatoes a viable industry, in part because it takes a lot of water to grow them and water is costly. Imported fries -- often subsidized by countries in which they are produced -- would undercut domestic fries and run them off the market, Israeli growers like the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council fear.
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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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