national

6 Hokkaido hotels admit mislabeling steak

38 Comments

Six hotels in Hokkaido are the latest establishments involved in the ongoing food mislabeling scandal sweeping Japan.

The hotels include the Lake Akan Tsuruga Resort Spa Tsuruga Wings in Kushiro, Saromako Tsuruga Resort in Kitami, the Shiretoko Kitakobushi‎ Hotel and Shiretoko Kazanamiki Hotel in Shari.

Hotel operators told a news conference Sunday that artificially processed meat injected with beef tallow was being falsely labeled "pure beef steak," on six of their restaurant menus, TV Asahi reported. Of the six hotels involved, four have been using the falsely labeled meat on their menus for over five years.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

38 Comments
Login to comment

We need a consumer watchdog with teeth. Yesterday.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

So in the meantime everyone was involved. Yet no punishments have been handed out yet. Sigh

7 ( +9 / -2 )

JT should start a new section like 'mislabeling'.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Mislabeling food products goes viral in Japan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I don't see the issue here.

Apparently Tsuruga in Akan uses a product called "Meltique Beef". It's processed by a company called Hokubee Australia. Google it. They have a process for simulating marbling by injecting tallow. It's 100% beef - there is nothing artificial being introduced. The process is a natural extension of larding (infusing roasts with lard) except that lard is pork-based. Larding has been common in western European kitchens since the 13th century, so this basic premise isn't exactly new.

If they were calling it wagyu, or calling it japanese beef, that would be mislabeling. If they were calling it "pure beef steak" there shouldn't be an issue.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Not really suprised about this. It happens all the time in Japan. This new scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. And so long as nothing really happens to those companies it will happen again and again. This is fraud and people resonsible for this should be put on trial and when found guilty serve jail time. Only a strict punishement will stop this. But for now, they apologize and bow on TV, maybe face a penalty which they will let their customers pay for by introducing a price hike.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

artificially processed meat injected with beef tallow

Ugh. That is the foulest thing... How can that possibly be anything other than bad for you?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Perhaps we need a brief period of amnesty, during which all mislablers are free to make public their misdeeds, and after that, any further mislabing shall result in long jail terms and complete shut downs of business.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think I would be easily fooled. When I would be chewing on whatever they had put in front of my snout, I would still be trying to get my head around that name Lake Akan Tsuruga Resort Spa Tsuruga Wings. Anyway, just put "looks like", "could be", "tastes like" etc. before every item on the menu. That's what management is thinking anyway. The only thing you san be sure of it seems, is that you will squeeze it out again in that familiar brown color. What a shame.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

For five years? Are we ready to remove Japanese cuisine from the food heritage list yet? There's been plenty of admissions, but no mention of penalties. I guess the deep bow and apology is enough. They should be fined, jailed and their business licenses revoked. Is fraud not a crime in Japan?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Sounds like meat glue strike again

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's really sickening when you think about how far this probably goes. How many nice meals have I blatantly overpaid for? How can I trust a restaurant of any kind, or a supermarket for that matter, to give me what they're promising, ever again? I'm a bit of a foodie and pride myself in being able to detect subtle differences in the things I eat, but the reality is that there are so many situations where it's borderline impossible to know if you're getting the expensive stuff you paid for, or just the so-so stuff.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It seems as if it is large establishments and chains that are the worst offenders. Smaller places may be better, but it is hard to tell as even small places often use retort packs (boil-in-the-bag) instead of real cooking. Oh for SouthEast Asian street for where you can see what will go into your food.

Maybe we just have to refuse to eat anywhere where we cannot see the cooking.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The reason why no one has been charged (arrested) so far is because the restaurant business is exempt from the Unfair Competition Prevention Act,

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There is other ways to make meat appear light and juicy but injecting fat in to steak is not only cheating but also not healthy for customers .

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Does anyone think that there is a chain, unless they have a vigorous internal audit policy, that is NOT doing this? This is what happens when there are rules, but no inspection/enforcement proceedures in place. So far, it seems to be mostly a case of people not getting the "top quality" fish and meats they paid for (although I see that nobody noticed the difference. So much for the discriminating Japanese palate.) What would be much more concerning would be if the products were actually unsafe, which is a reasonabe fear.

Incidentally, "food safety" is one of the top complaints bandied about by the Anti-TPP crowd. Guess they will have to come up with a new complaint.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Disillusioned- according to the statement on their website the buffet label said "steak" and not "processed meat". Nothing about locality at play.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wonder what would be listed in a hamburger if they were forced to disclose the true contents. Probably safer just to call it Australian beef etc., as a catchall description. The labeling problem in this instance is that they were maybe just a little too hopeful in the wording.

Deception? Er, well, ...probably yes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And you thought the "rice made in Okayama" is really from Okayama? The mislabeling applies to rice as well. Fukushima radiation, here we come!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

How incredibly shocking! I never saw it coming but everyone should be rest assured that this is end of all of these scandals. I have no doubt.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

More and more of these outfits feeling comfortable about admitting they have been lying and cheating the public, what is it with this lot, NO SHAME ?

A deep bow and a gomenasai letter is suffice.

How about they start prosecuting these cheating a holes for fraud, this whole thing is disgraceful and think of the damage to Japan's international reputation, all for a few yen here and there.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Food mislabeling scandal To be honest half the time we wouldn't know whats put into our meals in restaurants. Mislabeling should not only be aimed at hotel restaurants the same can be said for anything with a label.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

People have been bamboozled, scammed, taken to the cleaners and fallen for the bait and switch. I hate getting ripped off.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So we anything we've eaten over recent years in Japan could potentially have been something else? If it has been happening at some hotels in Hokkaido for the last five years, what does that say for the real situation? It is absolutely horrendous.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ohhhhnnnnnnooooo, not Hokkaido!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Perhaps we need a brief period of amnesty, during which all mislablers are free to make public their misdeeds, and after that, any further mislabing shall result in long jail terms and complete shut downs of business.

That just makes way too much sense to ever happen.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unfortunately, corporate sneakiness and slimyness are two of the bad things in Japan. No consequences for any of this? People should grow some nads and launch a civil suit. Ridiculous!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Next up, sake rice wine. Guess what, all doesn't seem to be kosher with the labeling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

artificially processed meat injected with beef tallow was being falsely labeled “pure beef steak,”

.. they're lucky I didn't eat there because I have a severe allergy to some of the chemicals used in processing meat, and their mislabeling could have landed me in hospital.

This is the REASON why food is labeled. It isn't just about marketing, it is about customers not getting killed by corporate greed.

I hope they throw the book at them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hokkaidoguy - Yeah, there is no problem with the quality of the food. The problem is calling it 100% pure local beef, when it is not. The other problem is the true fraud of enticing customers with false and misleading advertising, which is a serious crime in most countries.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think it's more an insult to the consumer than anything else--essentially, these businesses are saying that typical Japanese consumers, for all their vaunted choosiness and insistence on quality, really can't tell the difference between high-grade ingredients and run-of-the-mill (or in some cases, doctored) foods. After all, very few of these cases are coming to light as a result of disgruntled patrons complaining their "wagyuu" isn't up to snuff.

Still, these cases should be prosecuted as out-and-out fraud.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It happens in most restaurants. In fact what i m eating right now is labeled as nachos. What arrived at my table was chili con carne topped with 4 tortilla chips with very little cheese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is what happens when you have dishonest food service industry executives who have no moral character or integrity. They have no uprightness in mutual deals and lie about what they sell you, label or serve you or place on a menu in the restaurant. It is the responsibility of the company's executive to be totally honest in all dealings and relationships. Instead we see only deep bows with excuses and rationalizations about their behavior in deceiving the public and consumers. It seems honesty must begin with oneself otherwise we could not recognize this quality in others. We see things not as they are, but as we are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, the Japanese who were famous for their honesty are not honest any more. What happened during these 3 decades? Poor governance?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder how all these places suddenly "admit" their mislabeling. Have authorities actually started to control them? Or do they think that when they seize the opportunity to admit their wrongdoings now when everybody else does then they will not be punished, whether by authorities or consumers?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frungy I'd say "you" are lucky you didn't eat there, and I'd also say we were lucky we didn't eat there, I hate getting ripped off too.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is not mislabelling; that implies it is an accident, error, mistake.

It is deliberate fraud or misrepresentation...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And everyone shrugs and says, shouganai. Until the people who practice mislabeling are truly punished (and I'm not talking a Fujiya-style punishment), nothing will change.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites