Scandal As Curry House Cutlets Illegally Resold

food scandal Japanese curry house

A branch of popular curry house CoCo Ichibanya.

In one of the biggest stories out of Japan this week—besides the news of SMAP’s bizarre press conference—popular curry chain Coco Ichibanya was found to have thrown out 40,000 pieces of beef cutlet (a main ingredient in Coco’s signature dish katsu curry) after some were found to contain small bits of plastic.

Ichibanya then turned to a company called Daiko to dispose of the meat. However, Daiko instead resold the cutlets to an Aichi-based food distribution company called Minori Foods. Now it has been discovered that Minori Foods had bought other similarly-suspicious items from Daiko, including products with long-passed expiration dates. As officials continue their investigation, the scandal only seems to go deeper and deeper.

Aichi’s governor issued a statement saying that while Ichibanya was the victim, the company bears a huge responsibility. 2ch users harshly criticized the governor for his remarks, saying that he and his administration are the ones to blame for not properly monitoring the disposal company. Who do you believe is at fault here?

From Chunichi Shimbun:

Minori Foods Also Resold Expired Items Not Counting Ichibanya Products

In the case where refrigerated cutlets that Ichibanya, which manages the major curry chain “Coco Ichibanya”, had ordered to be disposed were illegally resold, a 78-year old manager at food wholesale company Minori Foods (Inazawa City, Aichi Prefecture) gave an explanation about the expired items the company had purchased from the disposal firm Daiko besides Ichibanya products, saying that a large portion was sold to intermediary agents.

In a prior inspection in Gifu Prefecture, many expired items besides the Ichibanya-brand cutlets including char-broiled chicken, tuna, chicken wings and deep-fried burdock were found in Minori’s freezers. It is believed that these expired items may have been resold in the past, so Gifu Prefecture is investigating the manufacturers and distribution channels, but it’s unclear as to where the items besides the cutlets were headed.

In an interview with this newspaper, the manager for Minori said, “We sampled the tuna and it was quite edible so we bought it, but weren’t able to sell much. As for the fried chicken, we sold that to a bento shop run by an acquaintance and it was very popular.” He also clarified that they “also bought some miso base, miso to put on food items, bread and snacks from Daiko.”

Through an investigation made by this newspaper, it’s been learned that in addition to Ichibanya, Daiko had been tasked with the disposal of food products that couldn’t be put on the market by several dozen companies including distribution centers and frozen food, side dish and seasoning makers nationwide.

Katsu curry is a popular Japanese dish.

Katsu curry is a popular Japanese dish.

53 Industrial waste workers on-site in Aichi Prefecture

On January 18th, Aichi Prefecture, which is dealing with the problem of the illegally-sold cutlets, will begin an on-site inspection based on the laws of disposing industrial waste for 53 industrial waste disposal workers who are entrusted by food makers to get rid of food items that cannot be put on the market. Governor Omura Hideaki will give a presentation at a scheduled press conference.

Officials will investigate the facilities where disposal by incineration and fermentation takes place as well as check the situation to see if things are being disposed of properly according to the manifest, and whether or not frozen food items are being stored in large quantities. They will finish the inspection in a day or two.

The manifest was introduced to ensure proper disposal, but Governor Omura acknowledged that “if the manifest has been forged with ill intentions, it’s almost impossible to spot. Perhaps only through a police investigation can we find out.”

“It’s a serious problem that shakes our trust in food products and the safety and peace of mind of citizens in our prefecture”, said Governor Omura. “Ichibanya are the victims, but they are a curry chain that represents Japan and their social responsibility is heavy. I would like Ichibanya to also examine why this happened and to take measures so that it doesn’t occur again”, he also requested.

Comments from 2ch:




What responsibility does Coco Ichibanya have?


The prefecture was probably the one who gave the industrial waste workers permission w
This governor is off his rocker.


Coco Ichibanya isn’t my cup of tea, but I don’t get what this means.


Then tell them not to throw out the scraps
This is a story about not wasting food


[In response to the above post] So then I guess it’s fine if Coco serves food without caring about whether or not there’s something stuck in it?


It’s OK if we say it, but you ,Omura, shouldn’t.
For someone in the government who is there to make sure these kinds of incidents don’t happen to say this sort of thing is just like someone who lives off other people’s tax money.


(゚Д゚) Huh? The administration is at fault here.
The administration are the ones who monitor the industrial waste workers !


So in other words Coco should be able to track the garbage down to its whereabouts?
If the disposal fee is cheaper than market price, you have to wonder, “This isn’t going to be disposed of illegally, is it?”


How is Coco supposed to track the garbage the workers threw out?


:Who’s the scumbag who gave the disposal company permission to work?


Coco Ichibanya is not at fault w
Shut up you know-nothing governor


What is he talking about?
This is without a doubt the responsibility of the disposal workers who ignored the contract. Is he receiving contributions from the workers?


Governor Omura has a responsibility as well!
This isn’t someone else’s problem.


If Coco Ichibanya is at fault here, then Aichi Prefecture also bears responsibility for neglecting to monitor the situation.
The head of Aichi Prefecture is Omura. Therefore, it follows that Omura is the number one person who needs to take responsibility.


This filthy hick governor seems like he’d tell a woman who was raped that she’s to blame.


I honestly can’t understand how it is that Coco Ichibanya is wrong here.
Since they can’t tell which cutlets contained plastic they put safety first and threw them out, right?
Also it’s totally suspicious that the disposal workers and intermediary agents are being protected.


I wonder how much he received from Daiko.


Coco Ichibanya simply made a disposal request to the prefecture-designated workers.
The prefecture is cancerous for appointing those strange workers
Well then, whose responsibility do you suppose it is?


[In response to the above comment] Well, unfortunately it’s hard to deny that there was a lack of confirmation on the part of Ichibanya, so of course the prefecture is to blame for not properly checking but…

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  • Dan

    Don’t blame the governor for this one. Let the blame fall squarely on the scumbag company who did this, Minori. And Daiko if it knew what they were going to do.

    Make them an example.

    • KenjiAd

      Actually at least in the US, it is not illegal to sell expired food products. Take a look at this FDA webpage:

      You may not want to know this, but I’m pretty sure you’ve been eating a lot of expired food products without knowing it. lol

      Remember that expiration dates of food products deal with mainly quality issue, not safety issue. For example, beer typically expires after 1-2 years, because after that, it may not taste as good. But it will not harm you even if you drink, say, 4-yr old beer.

      Food safety has a lot to with how they are handled and stored, in grocers and restaurants alike, not necessarily how old they are.

      So it’s OK for Minori to re-sell the expired food, as long as he didn’t misrepresent them as fresh.

  • KenjiAd

    The original Chuunichi Shimbun article is misleading. it is not illegal to re-sell expired food products. I checked.
    (scroll down to page 16, Q29-1).

    There are two kinds of expiration dates according to the law: 消費期限 (expiration date for consumption) and 賞味期限 (“Sell by…” expiration date). The former is for fresh foods, such as Bento, Sandwich, etc. The latter for things like Instant Noodles, Canned goods, including frozen foods.

    The Beef Cutlets in question are most probably into the frozen food category. The Chuunichi article also says those were with ‘賞味期限’ (sell by…) expired.

    According to the law, it’s OK to re-sell food products with expired “Sell by…” dates (賞味期限); it just says it is hoped that those goods are to be sold by the date indicated. See Q29-1 (page 16) of the reference cited above.

    In summary, it’s not advisable to eat foods whose 消費期限 (expiration date for consumption) is expired. So don’t eat 1-month old sushi bento. 🙂

    On the other hand, frozen food whose 賞味期限 (“Sell by…”) is expired, could be re-sold and consumed as long as they weren’t spoiled. You can eat 5-yr old instant ramen, although it may not taste good.

    These rules are the same as those in the US, which I’m more familiar with.

    Most restaurants will not use expired food products, because (1) it affects the reputation and (2) the food just doesn’t taste good. But many low-end food outlets buy those expired foods from vendors.

  • Teacher

    Isn’t this Simon and Martina curry hang out joint??????????????????????????????????????????????

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