Monday, November 28, 2011

Visit Japan for Fraudulent Food

Many Chinese tourists in Japan seeking a taste of world-famous Matsusaka beef have been served lesser stuff. Over the past five years, several dozen tourists each month were sold 180-gram ¥3700 servings (US$48 or $120 per pound) of mislabeled inferior meat. One restaurant under investigation, Barato Garden North Hill of Ishikari City, Hokkaido, admitted deception (link). But the firm's president Shigeru Oka insists Japanese customers for the well-marbled wagyū were never swindled.

Cheat only the tourists... Terrible. A great way to torpedo trade.

No information about how the scam was uncovered. What penalties should be imposed? The heifer themselves would be happy if their hand-massaged, beer-fed, tasty flesh were in less demand. But does such news damage producers of the beef? Or will the attention and publicity raise demand? Advertisers elsewhere in Japan recognize mislabeling fraud, sometimes insisting "Proof of Origin Supplied!"