Keep Tiger Prawns (Jumbo Shrimp) Off Your Plate

Keep Tiger Prawns (Jumbo Shrimp) Off Your PlateShrimp are fantastic.  Prawns are even better because it means you’re in England.  I love a nice bed of rice with a giant shrimp prawn sitting on top.  Feels rich.  Look at me – I’m king dammit!  Only there’s a problem.  There’s always a problem.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (can you imagine those member meetings?) wants you to know all about the negative effects of giant prawn farming on the environment.  Apparently it’s a horror show for just about everything involved, start to finish.  There’s antibiotics, pollution, chemical cocktails (there are 155 possible chemicals used in Thailand to farm shrimp….155!), mangrove destruction…everything short of the wholesale invasion of Poland.  Boo.  Even “organic” shrimp is supposed to be nothing of the sort.  I try to be fairly hardcore about where my food is coming from but I’d never given much thought to shrimp.  I suppose I will now.  Time to find whatever wild caught shrimp is available the next time it comes across my dinner plate.  Check out the short video below, it outlines the broad strokes of the whole thing.

Laser Cut Sushi Rolls – Umino Seaweed Design Nori

Laser Cut Sushi Rolls - Umino Seaweed Design Nori

I&S BBDO (a Japanese ad agency) was recognized with Best of Show Design Lotus at Adfest, in Thailand earlier this week.  Why does this matter?  They won for the laser cut nori they produced for their client – Umino Seaweed.  It’s decorative artwork for your sushi roll, nothing more.  It’s still pretty neat.  I’m a sucker for pretty sushi.

Five designs were introduced: Sakura (Cherry Blossoms), Mizutama (Water Drops), Asanoha (Hemp), Kikkou (Turtle Seashell), Kumikkou (Tortoise Shell).  The first thing that popped into my head upon seeing this was the fact that it wouldn’t be long before some prat got around to branding sushi with the Louis Vuitton pattern.

The design project was developed to help the North East Japan company rebuild in the wake of the March 2011 tsunami.  Check out the pics below. Continue reading

First It’s My Kobe Beef – Now It’s My Sushi!! Sushi Mislabeling In California Study – Widespread and Pervasive

First It's My Kobe Beef - Now It's My Sushi!!  Sushi Mislabeling In California Study - Widespread and Pervasive

Mislabeling seems to be the newest trend for misguided restaurateurs.  We learned many restaurants and produce purveyors are pushing Kobe beef which is anything but.  Non-profit watchdog group Oceana has been conducting (and continues to conduct) testing of sushi purchased from restaurants and retail locations across the country.  A report released last week by the environmental advocacy group detailing sushi sold in California showed that 55 percent of the seafood it tested in the two counties was mislabeled.  Nearly 120 samples were collected from seafood restaurants, grocery stores, sushi bars and restaurant chains.

“Be on the look out for seafood sleuths in the Bay Area,” said Geoff Shester, Oceana’s California program director.  The organization has volunteers and staff actively testing fish in restaurants, grocery stores, retail locations, and fish markets throughout the state.

In the L.A. samples, red snapper was mislabeled 100% of the time.  100 per cent.  That means no one is eating red snapper.  DNA tests were use to identify tilapia and pollock as popular substitutes.  Dover sole was discovered to be Asian “sutchi catfish” or common sole, and white tuna was often actually escolar, a snake mackerel which is referred to as “ex-lax” fish, a nod to its effect on the digestive system. So potent is the effect, the fish has been restricted in some countries.  Samples of yellowtail sold at sushi restaurants were often Japanese amberjack.  Flounder was frequently sold as halibut, and sea bream was substituted for sea bass.

Sushi restaurants had the highest incidence of mislabeling in Los Angeles.  Oceana reported that 87% of fish served within the 10 categories tested, were mislabeled.  The main motivation for such deception and fraud is simple economics.  It is more profitable to sell an inexpensive fish that can pass for one that costs significantly more, especially if no one is any the wiser.  The report does not concentrate on the source of the mislabeling.  87% of fish sold in the United States is imported, it’s unknown where along the chain of processing, packaging, wholesaling, and resale the fraud occurs.

A Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, would address the problem by requiring big restaurant chains to provide more information to customers about the origins of the fish they serve.

Being a sushi fan myself I’d like to see some accountability for what’s getting passed off to the buying public.  If I’m paying twelve or fifteen dollars for a single plate of nigiri, I damn well better be getting what’s advertised.  We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.

Salmonella Sushi – First Lawsuit Linked To Salmonella Outbreak Has Been Filed.

Salmonella Sushi - First Lawsuit Linked To Salmonella Outbreak Has Been Filed.Recently we wrote a bit about the now 20 state salmonella outbreak that was occurring, linked to a fish processor in California.  Moon Marine voluntarily recalled 58,828 pounds of frozen raw yellowfin tuna after it was linked to the outbreak.  The tuna was packaged as “Nakaochi Scrape AA” or “AAA.”   It’s not sold to consumers, rather a bulk product meant for restaurants and food producers.  Nakaochi Scrape is the backmeat that’s shaved off fish bones and added to products like ground yellowfin tuna.  It’s used in many sushi rolls, among them the spicy tuna rolls that sickened most people.  This particular batch of fish came from India.

The Food and Drug Administration said more than 140 illnesses have been reported, including 12 people who have been hospitalized. No deaths have resulted.  The first lawsuit stemming from that outbreak has officially been filed.

Two Wisconsin women, 22 and 33, claim they were severely sickened after eating tuna sushi rolls at a local restaurant. The sushi rolls allegedly contained ground yellowfin tuna with Nakaochi Scrape.  The victims’ lawyer told MSNBC that distributors may have removed packaging before selling the product to restaurants, leaving them unaware they were selling a potentially dangerous product.

The symptoms of salmonella infections generally include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within 72 hours of eating tainted food.  Victims usually recover after about a week.

The two Wisconsin women bringing the suit suffered infections that were more severe, requiring hospitalization.  One of the women suffered an ulcerated colon, which her lawyer attributes to the tainted fish product.

Food-poisoning cases like this lawsuit generally fall under product liability law.  Anyone in the chain of distribution; the manufacturer, distributor, wholesalers, even the restaurant, can be held liable.  It’s not known where the contamination originated from, investigations are underway to determine the source.  All of the victims were infected with a relatively rare strain of the bacteria, salmonella bareilly.

Ground meats, such as beef or chicken, are often a problematic.  The sheer quantity of animals used to make the product means that one infected animal can taint large amounts of the final product.  Ground beef and poultry are cooked before being served, generally killing off any harmful bacteria.  Because sushi is eaten raw, any contaminated food is infectious.

Leaked Memo Highlights Spicy Tuna Roll Salmonella Freak Out – Sushi Likely Source Of 19! State Salmonella Outbreak

Leaked Memo Highlights Spicy Tuna Roll Salmonella Freak Out - Sushi Likely Source Of 19! State Salmonella OutbreakNo secret I’m a huge fan of sushi.  I like sushi rolls just fine but I’m big on the slab-of-fish-on-a-bed-of-rice nigiri thing.  Spicy tuna rolls are sort of the ground beef of the sushi world.  One more reason to think likewise today.  Salmonella.  An outbreak of an unusual strain of salmonella called Salmonella Bareilly has hit 19 states and DC, infecting 90 people since late January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Oops on publicizing the event.  The outbreak was made public on Tuesday when an internal memo was inadvertently sent to everyone at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to agency spokesperson Curtis Allen.  Ouch.  According to the memo, speculation as to the source of the outbreak centers around ”spicy tuna roll sushi” as being highly suspect, according to the Wall Street Journal reports.  The source of the infection is as yet unknown. Continue reading

Salmon (Sake) Sashimi at Home

Salmon (Sake) Sashimi at HomeGood sushi can be a difficult thing to find.  Scratch that, inexpensive, good sushi is hard to find.  Good sushi is easy when you’re paying $200 for dinner, although I’ve even had that get screwed up.  And wow does that make you angry.  Some guy has the gall to be charging prices for fish that would buy ingots of silver the same weight and somehow the texture and taste aren’t all quite there.  Boo!  A good sushi place with reasonable prices is magical – like a unicorn.Salmon (Sake) Sashimi at Home

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