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Japan raw liver lovers lament new food ban

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Yes, this ban is a disaster. Just because there was a problem at 1 shop, everybody has to suffer. I love raw liver and it is one of my biggest joys to eat it at a yakiniku restaurant. This ban is too painful for me. There are more problems with raw oysters every year, but they continue serving them worldwide. Then close all the sushi shops too! I hate cooked liver! People should stand up and do something about this ridiculous ban.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

They are doing it for public safety, based on proof that the product is unsafe. I see no reason why this is wrong. True, a lot of people will lament it, but my guess is they'd lament being dead, if they could, more.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

foxie, i think the problem is that even properly chilled raw beef liver has too much E.coli. i'm surprised no one got sick or died sooner from eating raw liver.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I think I'm gonna be sick....

Sushi I can handle... but eating raw guts? I don't even eat COOKED liver... yuck.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Kitanね

Livestock livers are pretty vulnerable to E.Coli infections. Simply slow cooking the meat will kill the bacteria and still keep the meat perfectly juicy. Or just force feed the cows beer and make it foie gras style liver, which Japanese folks will love considering their tendency to enjoy fatty dishes that fall apart in your mouth.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Maybe you shouldn't be eating raw meat in the first place...

-3 ( +5 / -7 )

The dish which caused food the poisoning issues last year was Yukke, or raw meat topped with a raw egg. Yet that is not banned, and liver is. Plus they have shown there are at least 2 ways to remove the bacteria from the raw liver without affecting the taste/texture. There is a chance that once these techniques are proven, the ban will be lifted.

Personally i prefer cooked liver, but my wife loves the raw stuff (and cant stand cooked liver). We bought some of the konyakku immitation raw liver last night, lets see how that compares...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I never went out of my way to eat raw beef liver, but used to order it sometimes to gross out visitors from abroad. It doesn't really have much taste the way the Koreans serve it: all you can recognize is salt and sesame oil that you dip it into. Anyway I'm not going to miss it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And fugu liver is still not banned. Not even fugu. That seems an arbitrary choice.

-all ground meat (=hamburgers, etc), thousands of deaths worldwide every year. -milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanut, tree nut, seafood, corn.... cause allergic deaths, scores Just that make over 90% of the food deaths in modern countries. That's food you see at each street corner. And they go fighting the little niche market yakiniku.

I see no reason why this is wrong.

I see no reason why this is right. Last time I checked they were still selling cigarettes. But even if we talk only food. If the goal is to increase safety and health, they should start by banning the burger joints. Whichever way you count, they cause the most deaths and diseases.

Then other food have been kept legal anyway : -rye, millions of death, maybe the worst ever since the starts of humanity. -home-made canned food, pickles , etc, countless deaths

OK. a bit the past. But even these days : -sprouts (bean sprouts, kaiware...), dozens of deaths, but many sick, often -raw veggies (lettuce, coleslaw, shred carrots...). millions of sick people/year -sashimi, lox, etc (with those worms ) -dairies (yukijirushi, etc...) -water, the worse, the most common vector of epidemic -etc....

Food analyst Chiharu Saito, a member of the Japan Food Analyst Association, said there were a number of well-liked raw meat items on sale, but beef liver was the most popular.

Sounds not rational.

Or just force feed the cows beer

That's what they do. Cows are given the unsold asahi, sapporo, etc.

and make it foie gras style liver,

That does not work. Unless they find migratory cows, their livers won't grow like those of those birds before the big trip.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

My wife is Japanese and bless her heart! She hates liver and RAW liver with a passion! As for me, I would not feed this disgusting law river, oops! Maybe I have been in Japan too long?? But yes, no law river for me! Nor to my starving dogs, that even starving would not dare touch! IMHO

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Yu kke, pronounced You Keh, is actually not even Japanese food, it's origins are from Korea, 韓国 とか 朝鮮 where I saw our Korean amigos digging in with big smiles, so if you are that desperate hop on da plane at eat Yu kke to your hearts content!! Itadakimasu??

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

If you really want to eat raw liver why not just go to the store, buy some, take it home, and enjoy yourself?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The problem was the chain stores and cheaper stores selling it under conditions that were a dangerous Russian Roulette. All they had to do was create some kind of licensing system for the chefs, and stringent harvesting/ serving regulations so that it could never be a discount food served half-a$$edly, and all would've been fine.

Why they just didn't do that, I don't know...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Eaters of raw liver also qualify for a special prize : The Darwin Award.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

That's what they do. Cows are given the unsold asahi, sapporo, etc.

Sounds like a lot of drunk cows out there...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good lord. There was a time I never considered eating raw fish, and it turned out to be great. The raw beef was something to die for - seriously good. The raw horse, however, was the start of the downward slide, followed closely by raw chicken. Raw liver?! That, surely, is a faceplant at the bottom of the gastronomical slide....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The raw beef was something to die for

So is raw liver...literally

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Elbuda Mexicano They have Korean restaurants in Japan too and Yukké is my favourite! My dog sometimes eats raw chicken liver.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There's nothing wrong with eating raw liver. Problem lies in how it is handled and stored. Practice of eating raw liver has been part of European cuisine for centuries and I have noticed its resurgence at modern European restaurants around London.

Surely it makes more sense to do what Lowly suggested rather than banning it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Isn't one of the liver's main function clearing the blood of poisonous substances, even in animals..? Why would I eat it raw?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sad. I liked it. We often had it at our local yakiniku.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I think chicken sashimi should be banned as well my friend decided to eat some on a vacation trip to Osaka and almost died from her food poisoning. She thought she had the flu and ended up in the hospital for a week. My husband ate some and survived but I asked him to never eat it again..even my mother in law thought it was insane to eat raw chicken.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I like liver but the cooked one. So the ban doesn't matter to me.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I can't imagine eating raw liver. But it is extremely odd and inconsistent to ban it while at the same time encouraging people to eat food contaminated with nuclear waste.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Simply slow cooking the meat will kill the bacteria and still keep the meat perfectly juicy.

Point of order: Liver is not "meat", it's an organ of the circulatory system. "Meat" is muscle tissue - an organ associated with the skeletal system.

There was a study published back in 2008 concerning liver infections of humans by a variety of round worm usually found in dogs: Toxocara canis. This round worm hatches in the small intestine, penetrates the intestinal wall, finds a vein, and hitches a ride to either the liver or the lungs.

The scientists were evaluating the relationship between the infestations and the consumption of raw animal parts. Their study interviewed people with the infestations and other people who were infestation-free. 87% of the people suffering from the infestation reported having consumed raw beef liver in the recent past. Of the people with no infestation, only 25% had repoerted consuming raw beef liver in the recent past.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2553335/

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are a lot of restaurants that hover on the borders of food safety with dishes that are not prepared in accordance with minimal safety standards. Some posters have already suggested what kind of foods these are. Raw liver would be perfectly OK if properly prepared, like oysters, clams, raw fish and many others in most restaurants. People have been eating raw liver since times immemorial, like other raw organs, meats, and seafood. Sorting liver out for banning because of irresponsible and unsanitary processing by a few somehow does not seem right. [BTW, I don't eat raw liver]

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Of course we can still buy raw beef liver at the supermarket and eat it at home, though I would cook it first, but it's ridiculously expensive here, around 500 yen for a couple of mouthfuls, heck, I can have a huge plate of liver & onions at the local diner in my hometown for $10.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Just thinking about all the germs and bacteria (and whatnot) makes me feel queasy.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Raw liver would be perfectly OK if properly prepared, like oysters, clams, raw fish and many others in most restaurants. People have been eating raw liver since times immemorial, like other raw organs, meats, and seafood.

Aaaaannnnnd people have been DYING since times immemorial from eating raw organs, meats, and seafood.

Perhaps you didn't get the unmentioned fact derived from the study I mentioned above: The butcher can perform his job flawlessy in a completely sanitary workspace, and the restauranteur can prepare the food impeccibly so that even the world's health inspectors are awed, and the customer will can STILL get infested with round worms after eating raw beef liver because the beef liver became infested with round worm eggs back when the cow was still alive and grazing. So no, raw beef liver would NOT be "perfectly OK if properly prepared". Some aspects of infestation have nothing to do with how the liver is prepared.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Eating raw liver is just as much an essential part of Japanese culture and tradition as eating whale and fugu. Therefore, it should not be banned and banning it is an attack on Japanese culture and tradition.

This may sound confused as this time it is Japanese, not foreigners, who are calling for the ban.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Serrano -

I would really recommend against doing that and eating it raw, as you don't know whether it is ok to eat it raw or not. As per my previous post you would be repeating the dangerous situation of inexperienced/ unprofessional/ pressured cooks to get the dish out w/o proper consideration as to preparation. Do you know when the cow was slaughtered, what kind of farm it was raised on, what the conditions of the slaughter and transport etc are? If not then don't try it raw at home...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even cave-men were smarter than the mob who eat un-cooked beef and liver! Show some intelligence folks: COOK your beef and especially liver!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I am very careful in selection of menu when inviting friends over for dinner as some of them take it as a personal insult.

1)When you invite Americans for dinner, you may want to avoid serving liver or blood sausage.

Some do not eat organ and blood of animal. (Exodus 12).

2)Jews do not eat pork, pork sausage, bacon and ham.

3)Indian do not eat beef. No beef curry, please..

So do you know what I do? I cook chicken for all. It is healthy choice anyway.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Eating raw liver is just as much an essential part of Japanese culture and tradition as eating whale and fugu.

Say Whaa?! For your information, before Meiji era, eating meat from 4 legged animals in Japan could cause the eater to be executed on the spot. Unless you like calling "tradition" something that essentially originated in the end of 19 beginning of 20th century...

Eating BEEF (yeah including the liver) was unheard of, and was considered extremly rude - like we would see cannibalism now.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

My husband and I love raw liver, we live in the US now so we can't eat it anyway but in Japan we would regularly order 3-5 portions between the two of us when going to our local motsu place. Never got sick from it, once. We ate beef and chicken liver, and even turtle liver when he made suppon at home. If the people preparing it have common sense there is no problem. In summer just to be safe they would sear the outside.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One more fact about liver, both raw and cooked, full of PURINES. Purines?? Those nasty chemicals that build up in your body causing the URIC ACID to shoot up and finally causing GOUT, what is gout?? Ask heavy beer drinkers if their feet, joints hurt, why?? Beer also has many purines so if you enjoy animal liver and gulping it down with lots of beer, get ready for lots of pain because when you come down with gout, it is VERY VERY PAINFUL! In Japanese gout is tsufu, sorry my computer now does not want to write in kanji! Kuso!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

lightly cooked ( like rare steak ) liver is quite tasty and tender. Raw ? NO WAY

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I won't eat it. I'm a raw-abiding citizen.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

if they are suddenly unable to sell that then it will indeed affect sales and profits.

Or they could just cook it and sell whatever they have in stock.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bans are stupid. Requirements that a restaurant must inform customers of the dangers are okay, but people should be able to eat what they want. Its called freedom.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

OpinionhatedJul. 04, 2012 - 07:50AM JST

Bans are stupid. Requirements that a restaurant must inform customers of the dangers are okay, but people should be able to eat what they want. Its called freedom.

The country already bans foods from fish that have nanograms of plutonium (LD50 in milligram range for an adult), so why should they not ban food laced with equal amounts of lipopolysaccharides (toxic chemical from bacteria like EColi that has LD50 in the microgram range for adults). The liver tends to soak up quite a bit of toxins, and poor preparation can lead to pretty high levels of bacteria on top of that. Just cook the damn meat and be safe.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@ebisen-

that is a misconception that is not exactly true. the taboo on "four-leggeds" wasn't in existence among the whole populace for the whole time, it was something that existed but played out "really" more in sectors of the population involved in raising/slaughtering domesticated animals, and especially leather workers. And they weren't killed, just shunned. (and as for hunting wild ones, contrary to popular belief, jpns have been eating wild deer/boar consistently shince forever more or less. Including eating organs, liver etc).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How do you say 'raw liver lover' as in the title in Japanese?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh, for some delicious liver sashimi...LOVE it? Especially with sesame oil and garlic....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Lowly "The problem was the chain stores and cheaper stores selling it under conditions that were a dangerous Russian Roulette. All they had to do was create some kind of licensing system for the chefs, and stringent harvesting/ serving regulations so that it could never be a discount food served half-a$$edly, and all would've been fine."

NOT! Not fine at all!! I got a case of food poisoning in a high-end restaurant in a Takashimiya store. The long line up of locals marked it as a popular spot. I debated when I placed the order: Should I? Shouldn't I? But a few nights before an American friend who has lived 30+ years in Japan and I discussed the high standards that made serving such options possible. And I was no stranger to raw ofal. Monkfish liver is particularly nice. Yum, yum, yum.

My decision resulted in 3 full days of hanging over or parking on my washlet--including during an off shore 6.9 earthquake off shore during that interval. As my building swayed I decided that if this was my ignoble last moment I would spend it enthroned rather than embarrassing myself on the street. Thankfully it did not come to that, but. Don't blame the discount joints--though I'd never have chanced it in a discount joint.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

philly1-

What can I say?

You risk food poisoning any time you put food into your mouth. At a restaurant you take away control and responsibility and give it to someone else. It is a risk. I have had minor food poisoning a few times, and then once so bad that I almost died, literally. I could feel my organs swell up inside. It took me about a year to recover, I was underweight, weak, and couldn't eat normally.

One thing I learned during that episode was that you can be food poisoned and have it take 1 week or more to take effect. i.e. get sick. There was no 24 hour "rule" which I'd thot was the case. Some bacteria just takes longer to explode and knock you down. Since I didn't think I was very sick for the first day and I would get over it, I didn't go to the hospital, by the time I got really sick it was impossible for me to go to the hospital. By the time I was a little better, I went, but there was no bacteria left, and they had no idea what had caused my problem. Since it could be anything in the last week, I had no idea either. At home? At my friends? At a restaurant?

Licensing and ensuring certain standard practices will help with overall health of the population, not eradicate food poisoning, or guarantee all raw foods (or cooked!) are 100% safe. Regulations will also help the higher end places that may cut corners. Also-- Do you know for sure your liver food poisoning was actually from liver? Maybe it was something else...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@philly geez last year I was fine until that pesky March 13?? Earthquake hit and I was just like you with a wet butt!! No bad food now raw liver just great timming! I feel your pain bro!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The country already bans foods from fish that have nanograms of plutonium (LD50 in milligram range for an adult), so why should they not ban food laced with equal amounts of lipopolysaccharides

They are not banning foods with toxins. They are banning a class of food. Not all raw liver is toxic, obviously, more than all spinache contains radioactive caesium. This ban is stupid and reactionary. Just make sure customers are informed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OpinionhatedJul. 04, 2012 - 04:10PM JST

They are not banning foods with toxins. They are banning a class of food.

Any food is toxic, even water (though water usually kills you from insulin shock or even dehydration and exploding before being toxic). Some are more so than others. Liver itself isn't being banned, you can still eat it all you want, it's raw liver that is banned in restaurants. Other countries have had cooked meats laws for ages now, Japan has just been a bit slow on the uptake.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I love liver, hated it as a kid, really hated it, but now I love it, but eating it raw just doesn't feel right, I had many Japanese trying to push me to eat, claiming that it is safe and is one of the safest parts to eat because Japanese liver is not like the liver in other countries, meaning free from toxins, never put it in my mouth. I know Japanese like a lot of foods raw, but NOT everything tastes good raw and a lot of foods in fact, taste better when they are cooked.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No-one? OK, "Raw liver lover" in Japanese, how about "Nama Rebba Aikoka", or "Nama Rebba Rabba"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

gonna miss the nama reba goma abura

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As an update, we had the konnyaku immitation raw liver the other night. To me it was pretty much the same, colour was identical, texture was too, and the main flavour of the dish was the salty sesame oil, which is the same as when you order raw liver. I think that for the first 2-3 bites, you could fool 80% of Japanese, and 100% of me,

After that the konnyaku flavour comes through and it is apparent you are not eating raw liver. Fine by me, but absolutely untenable according to my wife. In fact so much so that she vowed never to eat it again, despite the first few bites being identical.

I had my last serving of nama-reba, and i am happy to move on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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