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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Raw Beef Liver Banned in Japanese Restaurants!

Following a number of recent food poisoning cases—including a few fatal deaths in 2011—Japan's health ministry is banning the serving of raw beef liver (gyu riba).

Set to be enforced on July 1, 2011, the move is part of efforts to ensure the safety of beef by tightening food standards in bars and restaurants, including popular yakiniku barbeque restaurants.

Announced on June 5, 2012, the health ministry has said it will ban restaurants from serving raw beef liver, a popular dish in Japan, in wake of a series of food poisoning incidents caused by raw beef, including fatal cases last year.

I have eaten gyu riba sashimi (raw cow liver), and let me tell you... it was bloody horrible. There are so many other tasty things to eat on cow, even a cooked liver - but to eat it raw? Man... the Japanese need to stop drinking while they eat.

Violators of the ban based on the Food Sanitation Act would face a maximum of two years in prison or a fine of up to ¥2-million (US/Cdn $25,800), the panel of the Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council under the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.

A food safety panel under the Cabinet Office endorsed the plan in April to prohibit the serving of raw beef liver as the O-157 strain of E. coli bacteria, which can cause food poisoning, was found in cow liver.

The number of food poisoning cases caused by raw beef liver is several times that of cases caused by raw beef meat, according to the health ministry.

In April of 2011, it was reported that five people—including a 6-year-old boy—died, with some 180 others who suffered from diarrhea and vomiting after eating raw beef dishes—other than liver—at a barbecue restaurant chain that failed to properly trim the beef to remove surface bacteria as required by standards at the time.

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph


  1. Just beef? I thought they were going to ban all raw liver.

    1. Hi Erica, from what I've heard, it is indeed just beef... I actually wrote this 13 hours earlier, and it is possible my info was wrong, but I just did a quick check online, and see that everyone else is saying beef only.

      I love sashimi, but gyu riba really scared me.