This story takes place in the famous “kaitenzushi” restaurants, also called “revolving sushi”, where the dishes scroll on conveyor belts. Customers choose the plates they like and pay at the end according to their number. At the beginning of February, when three friends filmed themselves in a restaurant in Nagoya, in the center of the country. One of them grabbed the bottle of soy sauce, licked the neck, then wetted his finger with his saliva and ran it over some sushi scrolling on the carpet. Netizens reacted responding to the challengelicking cups and plates, spraying hydroalcoholic gel or even spitting on food. Other customers also put wasabi on all the sushi on the mats. These videos were shared on social media, sparking an outcry.
The authorities quickly took the situation in hand. The phenomenon was called “sushi-terro”, a term the Japanese use to describe any form of terrorism. The Japanese are known to be very hygiene conscious, and this joke was perceived as a serious threat to food security. Customers were shocked and disgusted, and some began to desert sushi restaurants. The chains have already had to reduce their payroll to cope with price inflation, and the drop in attendance has had a significant economic impact. The Sushiro brand even filed a complaint for damage to its reputation after the video was broadcast. The sushi restaurant sector weighs heavily in Japan, with a turnover of more than five billion euros in 2021 (source 1).
Police eventually arrested the three youths behind the video, which could deter copycats. However, to regain consumer confidence, some restaurants have decided to take drastic measures. The Choshimaru chain, which operates 63 restaurants in the Tokyo area, announced that its kaitenzushi would stop by the end of April.
Risk associated with raw fish
Eating raw fish can lead to a health risk, because it may contain potentially dangerous parasites or bacteria. For example, raw fish may contain the Anisakis parasitewhich can cause abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting in humans. Bacteria like salmonella or listeria can also grow on raw fish and cause serious illness. This is why it is important to take precautions when eating raw fish, such as making sure it has been properly stored and preparedand to choose reliable and quality sources of fish.
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