food

Japan to begin nationwide sales of a tear-free onion this fall

28 Comments
By Meg Murphy, RocketNews24

Onions are many things; they’re versatile, flavorful, relatively inexpensive, and full of nutrients. They are also no fun to chop.

The reason behind the tears is a volatile gas that’s released by the onion cells when damaged by, for example, a chopping knife. This year, however, the days of tearful food preparation may be at an end, as Japanese researchers have, after more than 20 years of trial and error, produced onions which release nearly none of those eye-irritating gasses.

This tearless onion, named the Smile Ball, was sold in trial runs at department stores and online shops within Tokyo, selling out of nearly five tons of the bulbous root. The onions will be sold at supermarkets nationwide this fall, though no specific start date has been specified. The onions will cost 450 yen for a pack of two, which is approximately twice the price of traditional onions.

The Smile Ball is said to not carry the characteristic smell of regular onions, and, when eaten raw, contains a sweetness similar to apples or nashi Asian pears. But how do Japanese feel about this revolutionary new food? Less than enthusiastic, according to these Internet commenters.

“But what about its nutrition content?” “You know that if you chill an onion in the fridge you can pretty much mince it without any tears, right?” “As you grow older you naturally stop tearing up, so forget that and do something about its smell.”

While there don’t seem to be any smiles around for the Smile Ball, judging from its trial sales last year, there are plenty of consumers around willing to shell out for some sting-free slicing and dicing.

Source: The Hokkaido Shimbun Press, Otakomu

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Novel way to dice onions quickly may reduce time and tearing up…but may increase bleeding -- Telecom company DoCoMo turns vegetables, camera flashes, and pressed shirts into an orchestra【Video】 -- We pig out at Aizuya, the Michelin Guide-featured takoyaki shop

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28 Comments
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How was it made? Normally through cross breeding or as a GMO?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

cant we just appreciate the small inconveniences of nature and live life?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

get ready for tearless & tasteless food :(

11 ( +11 / -0 )

cant we just appreciate the small inconveniences of nature and live life?

True. Now we can't have a convenient excuse to blame the onion when we're crying.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It will go with the no-smell, no-taste garlic and the other bland vegetables.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

At 450 yen for two I'll be crying over the price.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

A tearless onion full of insects. No thanks.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The smell of onions is what makes the great taste.

Also, it is the direction you cut the onion in that breaks the pockets of gas. Look it up. There is a right and a wrong way to cut an onion.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If you breath through your mouth when you cut them they do not make you cry. Things like this just confirm my opinion, people are stoopid!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How was it made? Normally through cross breeding or as a GMO?

What difference does it make? Do a little research and you'll see that anyone who thinks that GMO's are "bad" for you are just making a choice to be ignorant and to make decisions based upon fear and not science.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

This means politicians will not be "crying" in front of cameras again, after being caught red-handed?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

anyone who thinks that GMO's are "bad" for you are just making a choice to be ignorant and to make decisions based upon fear and not science.

anyone who thinks that GMO's are "bad" for you are just making a choice to not be ignorant and to make decisions based upon nature and not science.

Fixed it for you.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

anyone who thinks that GMO's are "bad" for you are just making a choice to not be ignorant and to make decisions based upon nature and not science.

Be thankful that you have GMO's working their butts off to keep food on your table. You want to go and live on nature, feel free that's your choice. Me I would and do choose to go to the supermarket for my food and choose to live in harmony with nature rather than bound to it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The Smile Ball is said to not carry the characteristic smell of regular onions, and, when eaten raw, contains a sweetness similar to apples or nashi Asian pears.

Can't say I see the point in an onion that don't taste or smell like a nunnion. If I want the taste of apple or nashi, I'll eat apple or nashi....

As for the never-ending GMO debate, I for one don't 'have GMO's working their butts off to keep food on (my) table'. I go to the supermarket for most of my food, and for the usual suspects (oil, soy, corn etc) I check that the label says 'No GMO'. Other stuff I grow myself, with no pesticides, herbicides or any other gunk, and from my tiny little plot we have a glut of lovverly summer veggies.

If the manufacturers want me to buy GMO, they need to tell me why I should buy it. If it's because it produces better yields, then I would expect the price to be lower; it never is. If it's because it's extra-rich in some mineral or vitamin or somesuch, that's fine for people with a lack of the somesuch in their diet; I have no lack. If it's because the strain is Roundup Ready and can survive anything the farmer chucks at it that nukes everything else in the field, then sorry, but I'm not interested in eating stuff guaranteed to have been soaked liberally in toxins.

GMOs have a bad rap, most of it undeserved I imagine; but it's the fault of the manufacturers, who have tried to sneak the nasty stuff in with the not-so-nasty stuff, with nothing but the bottom line and distain for the consumer in their grubby little non-organic minds.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I can see how this good for people with eye sensitivities but then again, chilling the onion could instantly solve that problem...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can't say I see the point in an onion that don't taste or smell like a nunnion. If I want the taste of apple or nashi, I'll eat apple or nashi....

Well said! Plus I agree.

GMOs have a bad rap, most of it undeserved I imagine; but it's the fault of the manufacturers, who have tried to sneak the nasty stuff in with the not-so-nasty stuff, with nothing but the bottom line and distain for the consumer in their grubby little non-organic minds.

I prefer to think that it's a small group of rather well organized folks who like to play on people's fears of anything that science produces that will be bad for you, just like the homeopaths who play on the fears of the unknown too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

cleoAUG. 01, 2016 - 05:31PM JST As for the never-ending GMO debate, I for one don't 'have GMO's working their butts off to keep food on (my) table'. I go to the supermarket for most of my food, and for the usual suspects (oil, soy, corn etc) I check that the label says 'No GMO'.

Honest question: where on a Japanese label does it say that?

GMOs have a bad rap, most of it undeserved I imagine; but it's the fault of the manufacturers, who have tried to sneak the nasty stuff in with the not-so-nasty stuff, with nothing but the bottom line and distain for the consumer in their grubby little non-organic minds.

I pretty much agree with this. I strongly support the existence of GMOs, but I also want strong labeling laws. Let the consumers inform themselves and make rational decisions.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Honest question: where on a Japanese label does it say that?

Next time you're buying tofu or soy sauce or corn oil, look on the ingredients list to where it says 遺伝子組み換えではありませんor (usually on the front of tofu) 遺伝子組み換えは一切利用していません. It's there. If it's not, I don't buy it.

My local Coop marks all its soya products 'GMO不使用'.

I prefer to think that it's a small group of rather well organized folks who like to play on people's fears of anything that science produces that will be bad for you

Ask yourself, cui bono? The folk trying to sell folk a pig in a poke, is cui.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I prefer to think that it's a small group of rather well organized folks who like to play on people's fears of anything that science produces that will be bad for you, just like the homeopaths who play on the fears of the unknown too.

As cleo explained, there is no benefit, only potential for risk in GMOs. Just as 'useful' as a tear-free onion.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ask yourself, cui bono? The folk trying to sell folk a pig in a poke, is cui.

Fair enough, here in Japan most GMO products are not allowed into the country, the beneficiary is JA, who stands to lose a grunt load of money.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In Japan for many regular products there can be up to 5% GM content and they still be called GM-free.

http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/millenium/japanlegislationlabelinggmfoods.php

These foods include soy- and corn-based products, including tofu, natto, soymilk, miso, products made with soy ingredients, corn snacks, cornstarch, popcorn, and products made with corn ingredients.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

No way. They are good for my dry eyes!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nope, I'm gonna always put up with onions that make my tears fall if I don't cut them properly. Strong onions are better than this IMHO. Some peeps will like this, I'm just not one of them xD

2 ( +2 / -0 )

F r a n k e n f o o d ! I do not eat it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Each time ,I cook onion,I cooking whole one,no mixed with anything.After eating it all,I fell to sleep easily,no need any sleep pill. Try it yourself.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

100% premium to combat a rare and minor inconvenience doesn't appear good value. If they've spent ten years and a lot of money on this I'd say they overinvested. Not sure I want my onions so sweet either.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

anyhoo back on topic.... is it a gmo or not?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

wasted 20 years of their time. could have done something more useful. i don't understand this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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