100 schoolchildren sick with Salmonella in Japan

The Tokyo Reporter says nearly 100 children at 4 kindergartens in Okazaki City fell ill after eating boxed meals tainted with Salmonella, prepared by a company with a history of providing tainted meals.

A total of 87 kindergartners, aged 3 to 6, reported symptoms like fever and vomiting after consuming the tainted bento meals between 21 and 28 Sep 2017, according to officials of Okazaki, reports TBS News on 29 Sep 2017. Salmonella was detected in many of the affected children, 10 of whom were hospitalized, but none are in life-threatening condition, authorities said.

The tainted bento meals were provided to the kindergartens in the cities of Nagoya, Gamagori, and Nisshin by Tokiwa Shyokuhin foods in Okazaki, city officials said. Officials of Okazaki said Tokiwa Shyokuhin was suspended from business operations amid fears there could be more victims. The food company was also responsible for producing meals that left 71 people with food poisoning in April 2016, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

Japan theme park draws ire over 5,000 fish frozen into ice skate rink

I’m about to go play hockey and ref and coach for the next three hours – no complaints, it is what it is, we get the ice, we play.

My feet will hurt.

fukuoka-space-world-frozen-fish-ice-skating1But at least I don’t have to skate over fish.

Roland Shichijo of Tokyo Reporter writes a theme park in Kitakyushu City is facing a growing tide of criticism over its educational attraction featuring some 5,000 sea creatures frozen into an ice rink in what it boasts to be a world-first — and possibly Japan’s last.

Space World, described as a “theme park all about space” by the Japan National Tourism Organization, launched the “Freezing Port” event for its existing ice rink on November 12 as a limited winter and spring exhibition to educate visitors about marine life.

Park visitors can rent ice skates and glide over a wide variety of fish and shellfish frozen into the ice in different zones, according to the official web site, including a section featuring enlarged photos of bigger creatures such as whale sharks that some mistook to be real.

Many of the fish used for the attractions were unfit for retail sale and sourced from public fish markets, a Space World official said.

The theme park promised in October that visitors would have a “chance to enjoy skating under unreal conditions at an attraction both unseen and unheard of” in what is “not only a Japan-first, but undeniably a world-first.”

But an initially cautious reception quickly turned to dismay and anger after the theme park began posting preview photos of the ice rink on its Facebook page on October 26, accompanied by what many criticized as inappropriate captions.

Netizens were particularly vocal about a caption for a “Part.7” November 7 photo showing bodies of fish half-frozen into the ice rink that read “I’m d..d..drowning…It h…h..hurts…,” with one comment saying the park shouldn’t “make life into a toy.”

In another photo post dated November 8, visitors urged others to boycott the park while others condemned the attraction as an “insult to life” and urged the park to “go out of business.”

Space World continued to preview the attraction despite mounting criticism with a final “Part.11” photo on November 11, which drew over 100 comments expressing varying degrees of shock and shame –– including a claim that the attraction was gaining attention in China as “Japan’s vulgar theme park.”

An official from Space World’s public relations department confirmed to news site Netlabo that the park has “received lots of opinions on sites like Twitter, and some have even contacted us directly.”

The official denied allegations that the park used live fish for the ice rink.

E. coli O157 detected in 5 of 21 sickened after eating cutlets in Japan

The Japan Times reports that five of 21 people who fell ill after eating frozen cutlets sold by a company in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, have been found to suffer from food poisoning from the O157 strain of E. coli bacteria, prefectural health officials said Tuesday.

niku-no-ishikawaThe patients’ symptoms included stomachaches and diarrhea. The O157 strain was detected from the cutlets and the patients’ stools.

The frozen cutlets, made of minced beef and pork, were sold by the meat company Niku No Ishikawa, according to the prefectural officials.

The best-before date of the products, made by a company in neighboring Shizuoka Prefecture on behalf of Niku No Ishikawa, was set at Feb. 26, 2017.

The cutlets were sold at 26 Ito-Yokado Co. supermarkets in Kanagawa and Chiba Prefecture. Ito-Yokado, a unit of Seven & I Holdings Co., had removed all of the products from its stores as of Wednesday.

The Kanagawa Prefectural Government is calling on purchasers of the cutlets not to eat them and contact the stores where they were bought.

Gross: Raw chicken sashimi: Japan’s health types urge

Takahiro Takenouchi of The Asahi Shimbun reports that chicken sashimi and “tataki” (seared chicken breasts and livers) are a common menu item in yakitori bars and restaurants across Japan.

chicken-sashimiHowever, eating undercooked or raw chicken can cause food poisoning via the campylobacter bacteria, which can cause severe stomach pain and diarrhea.

Raw beef liver and raw pork are banned, but no such restrictions have been imposed on raw chicken, despite many cases of food poisoning caused by eating tainted bird meat.

“It is not fatty, and I love it. I never worry about food poisoning,” said a 39-year-old company employee enjoying a plate of chicken sashimi at a yakitori bar in Tokyo.

The owner of the yakitori bar added, “Chicken sashimi and tataki have been some of our popular dishes since we opened (50 years ago). I am careful about campylobacter.”

The owner said she purchases chickens freshly butchered in the morning for sashimi, and the meat is boiled in hot water until the surface turns white. No cases of food poisoning have ever been reported related to her restaurant.

In June this year, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare finally took action and advised regional public health centers to take steps to implement preventative measures to reduce food poisoning from raw chicken.

Although the advisory is not legally binding, the ministry printed fliers asking restaurants to change their practices.

“Re-evaluate raw and half-raw chicken menus,” the flier reads, urging restaurants to heat the meat at 75 degrees at its core for one minute.

More than 800 people complained about stomachaches or diarrhea in Tokyo and Fukuoka in April and May after eating chicken breast sashimi and chicken sushi rolls at events made by the same company.

chicken-sashimi-2The mass food poisoning in the span of two months prompted the ministry to issue its advisory.

According to ministry preliminary statistics, there were 56 cases with 395 people treated at the hospital for food poisoning from campylobacter from June to August. More than half of the identified causes were due to consuming chicken.

Another ministry report says that 67 percent of chicken meat processed for consumption tested positive for the bacteria, and freshness does not always mean safe.

 “There is a certain demand for raw chicken eating, and it is part of our food culture,” a health ministry official said.

The ministry plans to estimate the number of campylobacter infection cases that go unreported to gauge the extent of the food poisoning as it only causes minor diarrhea in some cases. In addition, the ministry seeks to implement sterilizing methods, such as rapid freezing technology or food disinfectants.

“We never expect the public to consume chickens raw,” said Teruaki Oshima with the Japan Chicken Association, which is made up of meat producers and food processing companies. “If consumers choose to eat raw chicken, they should carefully consider the risks, and the level of hygiene and credibility of the restaurant.”

Everyone poops and it can power Toyota’s newest car

Sam Blum of Thrillist writes human poop is readily available anywhere humans are, and Toyota’s about to cash in on all that crap: The Japanese automaker is using the bountiful resource to make fuel for the Mirai, a hydrogen-based car, and according to Quartz, the process comes together through pretty simple science.

toyota-miraiAt a wastewater plant in Fukuoka, Japan, Toyota is creating biogas by adding microorganisms to liquid and solid waste. After that, scientists filter out all carbon dioxide, and add more water vapor to create hydrogen.

It’s the same poo-to-hydrogen conversion that’s proven quite useful in India, where “they have loads of biogas plants in villages and such that are just part of their energy infrastructure,” according to Marc Melaina of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

It’s a process that Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Toyota Mirai, would ultimately like to see create a “hydrogen society,” but poo isn’t known for its renewable potential, at least in the United States. Bill Elrick, executive director of the California Fuel Cell Partnership, laid bare the dilemma to Quartz, saying “There’s only some few hundred Mirais in the state of California right now…that’s not enough to turn it into a full business from Toyota’s perspective or the energy producers’ perspectives.”

 

Not even cats were safe: Priceless 170-year-old Japanese fart scroll digitized

I was eating breakfast with Sorenne and she let out a huge, long fart.

17p7on0bgn72xjpgAs she is wont, like all of my 5 girls until they reach puberty, she said, excuse me, I farted, and laughed uproariously for about a minute.

The Japanese apparently share this toilet humor.

The scrolls were likely political cartoons of the day, railing against threats to Japan’s isolationist policies due to gunboat diplomacy like the Perry Expedition. You can’t spell “fine art” without “fart.”

Hegassen_scroll_segment_33

 

‘It’s a good thing the standard greeting in Japan is bowing not shaking hands’ Handwashing in Japan

Surveys suck, but can be entertaining.

japan.handwashingCasey Baseel of Rocket News 24 reports Creative Survey recently polled a group of 600 Japanese men and women (75 of each gender in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s) about their bathroom habits, and came away with some pretty gross statistics regarding how many of them properly wash their hands after going to the bathroom

Almost one in five people polled said that they occasionally skip washing their hands after dropping a deuce or unleashing an uno. Things get more cringe-provoking still when examining the breakdown of how the respondents “wash” their hands.

Only slightly more than 40 percent of those polled seemed to understand that the use of soap is really the deciding factor in whether or not you’re “washing” something (which is why walking around in the rain for five minutes doesn’t count as taking a shower). Also disturbing is the one percent of respondents who gave “other” as their answer.

It’s probably a good thing that the standard greeting in Japan is bowing, not shaking hands.

Hepatitis A case at 2 Edmonton-area Edo restaurants

Alberta Health Services is warning customers of two Edmonton-area Edo Japan restaurants that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

hep.aedo-japanAHS said it confirmed a case of the infection in a food handler who works at two Edo restaurants in the Capital Region – the Manning Town Centre location in Edmonton and the Tudor Glen Market location in St. Albert.

People who consumed food from the above locations between June 13 and 18, 2016 and June 21 and 28, 2016 may have been exposed to hepatitis A, AHS said Tuesday afternoon.

“While we believe the risk to the public is low, hepatitis A is a serious infection,” Dr. Joanna Oda, medical officer of health with the AHS Edmonton Zone, said.

Hepatitis A can be spread through the fecal-oral route, direct contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. If an infected person does not property wash his or her hands after using the washroom, the virus can be transmitted through food and beverages prepared by the infected individual.

Anyone who ate food from either Edo location is urged to monitor themselves and their family members for symptoms of hepatitis A until Aug. 17. 

 

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant shuts down after 14 diners suffer food poisoning

A Michelin-starred restaurant in Japan has been ordered to shut temporarily after 14 people got food-poisoning on a fancy Japanese-style meal.

Kita Kamakura Saryo GentoanThe Kanagawa Prefectural Government said officials were investigating after six men and eight women complained of diarrhea and stomach pains after eating at Kita Kamakura Saryo Gentoan on June 11.

Among items on their menu were squid, jelly with sea urchin, pumpkin cooked with fish, eel and sweets, according to the prefecture.

A picturesque restaurant among the trees of Kamakura, a coastal town south of Tokyo, it was known for serving meals in quiet Japanese-style rooms.

The restaurant closed on its own on June 14. The prefecture’s order was made June 20 and remains effective until the cause is determined. Usually, such closures last a few days.

Mass norovirus food poisoning at Japanese nurse

A mass food poisoning outbreak caused by Norovirus occurred at a nursery school located in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward earlier this month.

norovirus-2According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the norovirus outbreak infected a total of 41 kindergarteners and two nursery school teachers at Yoyogi Nursery School, Fuji TV reported. Over the course of three days from June 6 to 9, the infected children and nursery school staff exhibited symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, and complained of fever as well.

While none of the infected infants and adults were hospitalized, 35 stool samples tested positive for the norovirus. Furthermore, all infected patients consumed the same school meal on June 6, which ward officials said was deep fried chicken, meat and potato stew, and potato salad.

Shibuya Ward suspended the nursery from serving lunches for three days.