Food fraud: San Diego lobster edition

An investigation by the city attorney’s office has led to misdemeanor convictions against eight sushi restaurants whose “lobster rolls” apparently lacked a key ingredient.

Spongebob_and_larry_the_lobsterInvestigators bought the rolls at a sampling of restaurants and then sent them to a laboratory for DNA testing. The results revealed that less-expensive seafood, including crawfish or pollock, had been substituted for lobster.

“Every single one that was tested was found to be false,” said Kathryn Turner, chief deputy of the city attorney’s consumer and environmental protection unit. Consumers are “paying for a premium product. They should be getting a premium product.”

The “truth in menu” investigation was conducted in August and September 2014, outside the trapping season for California spiny lobster, which runs from October through March. Follow-up inspections were conducted by the city’s investigator and state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

CFIA shuts down new PEI lobster plant

The first new lobster processing plant in 10 years in Prince Edward Island (that’s in Canada) has not had its registration renewed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

lobsterA CIFA spokesperson said Red Cove seafood processing was allowed to resume operations following an earlier suspension on April 14 under ongoing inspection by CFIA. On May 8, CFIA decided not to renew Red Cove’s registration.

“The CFIA has determined that adequate controls for safety were not reliably implemented in the facility on a regular basis, which is in violation of the fish inspection regulations,” the spokesperson said. “Specifically, (Red Cove Seafood Processing) was unable to consistently maintain minimum regulatory standards for construction, equipment sanitation and process controls.”

Is that a lobster in your pants or are you just happy to see me – Mississippi edition

 A man in southern Mississippi is accused of trying to walk out of a D’Iberville grocery store without paying for food items he’d stuffed into his cargo shorts including live lobsters.

Police Chief Wayne Payne says a 35-year-old man was arrested Saturday after allegedly being caught stuffing food into his cargo shorts — two bags of jumbo shrimp, a pork loin and two live lobsters.

Payne says Hardy, of Biloxi, tried to escape by throwing the pork loin at employees at the local Winn Dixie but fell while running away. He was arrested at the scene.

Lobster feast sickens over 220 in China

More than 220 people were hospitalized after eating lobsters in east Jiangxi Province, a local hospital reported on Friday.

Ruichang city residents who unsuspectingly indulged in a Thursday night lobster feast later suffered from diarrhea, vomiting, and some contracted a fever, said Gong Jinwen, a doctor who treated the sick at Renmin Hospital. Doctors speculate that E. coli could be the cause.

More than 4,000 people attended the lobster shindig, which was part of the city’s government-sponsored lobster festival.

Lobster spared from road kill sold as 2-for-1 dinner special

Arnold A. Villatico, the owner of Periwinkles & Giorgios Italian Pub and Restaurant in Oxford, Massachusetts, faces criminal charges of larceny over $250, conspiracy, and unlicensed possession of shellfish after dozens of condemned lobsters from an overturned truck allegedly appeared on customers’ dinner plates.

The Boston Globe reports that on July 27, a tractor trailer carrying 11,000 pounds of fresh lobster from Canada crashed on I-395 in Webster. The wreck tore the refrigerated container carrying the lobsters and spewed 150 gallons of diesel fuel across the load and roadway, which was closed for 12 hours.

A Webster health inspector declared the toppled load unsalvageable. And although local health inspectors are required by the state to witness the destruction of condemned food, that never happened.

Town manager Joseph M. Zeneski said Villatico began selling lobsters from a refrigerated truck behind his restaurant, and the restaurant reportedly offered $19.99 lobster specials. Police found crates of lobster inside the restaurant and plucked lobsters from boiling pots as evidence, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported.

"He had a sign out, two for one," Zeneski said in an interview.

There were no reports of illness associated with the lobsters, and Villatico’s restaurant remains open.

Approximately 2,070 surviving lobsters were loaded and transported to Boston. Then officers hauled them onto a boat and released them just outside Boston Harbor, a half mile east of the North Channel buoy. Officials said they unbanded the lobster claws first.

Lobster on the lam; sicken 55 in Ontario, declared gross by FDA

Public health types in Hamilton, Ontario, report that 55 people fell ill after attending a staff barbecue July 18 at ArcelorMittal Dofasco or eating leftovers. A public health investigation determined the source of the outbreak was Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria from inadequately pre-cooked lobster tails.

The caterer was the Village Green Bistro in Westdale.

On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to avoid eating tomalley from American Lobster, regardless of where the lobster was harvested, because of potential contamination with dangerous levels of the toxins that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP).

Lobster tomalley normally does not contain dangerous levels of PSP toxins. The current high levels of PSP toxins likely are associated with an ongoing red tide episode in northern New England and eastern Canada. Canadian authorities recommend limited consumption of lobster tomalley. However, authorities in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have issued advisories cautioning against eating any tomalley.

Colbert did a bit about the tomalley Thrusday night but it’s not on the Comedy Central website yet. So this will have to do.