メニュー偽装 「誤表示」の強弁は通らない

The Yomiuri Shimbun October 27, 2013
Hankyu Hanshin Hotels paying high price for misleading menus
メニュー偽装 「誤表示」の強弁は通らない(10月26日付・読売社説)

A hotel operator’s obstinate insistence that “it wasn’t fabrication, but rather mislabeling” is unacceptable.

Food materials different from those described on menus were used in many dishes offered at restaurants of eight hotels operated by Hankyu Hanshin Hotels Co.

The false labeling went on for more than seven years, with dishes cooked with falsely advertised materials served to at least 79,000 customers.

The hotel operator made excuses during a news conference, saying “there was a lack of awareness of the need to check whether the items matched those displayed on the menus” and “our staff members were ignorant and insensible regarding [food materials].”

However, some employees said they knew the dishes offered did not use materials mentioned on the menus but that they “thought there was no problem.” It cannot be ruled out that the alleged fabrications were intentional.

Examples of false labeling include a case in which Shiba shrimp was written on menus, but Vannamei prawns were actually used. The former are priced at ¥2,500 per kilogram, while the latter costs far less, at ¥1,400 per kilogram.

Also, what was touted as Kujo-negi onions were found to be ordinary green and white leeks. The latter’s wholesale price is ¥800 per kilogram compared with ¥2,000 for leeks from Kujo, Kyoto Prefecture.

Lack of compliance

The hotel operator claimed “there was no intention whatsoever of gaining profits unfairly.” But this claim cannot be taken at face value. It is astonishing that a relatively famous hotel operator apparently did not comply with the law.

Hankyu Hanshin Hotels has reported the case to the Consumer Affairs Agency as a suspected violation of the Law against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations. Masako Mori, state minister for consumer affairs and food safety, said her office would “deal with the case strictly.” A thorough probe is called for.

It came to light in June that roast beef originating in Chile had been misrepresented as “domestically produced beef” on the menus of restaurants at four Tokyo hotels operated by Prince Hotels, Inc.

In the wake of this revelation, Hanshin Hankyu Hotels investigated its hotels and discovered the menu scam.

The success of a hotel hinges on the quality of service offered. Customers pay money in exchange for enjoying delicious food made from high-quality materials.

Hankyu Hanshin Hotels has tarnished its own brand, which was built over many years, with its wrongdoing.

Fabrication scams involving food are not uncommon. It was revealed in 2007 that a high-end Japanese restaurant in Osaka falsified the origin of its beef. The restaurant was forced to close after it later came to light that the restaurant reused food materials.

The hotel chain operator intends to reimburse customers for the dishes made from falsely advertised materials. The refunds are said to total about ¥110 million.

The price paid for misrepresentation is high, and regaining public trust is no easy task. Hankyu Hanshin Hotels’ scam cannot be shrugged off by those in the food industry as someone else’s problem.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 26, 2013)
(2013年10月26日01時32分 読売新聞)

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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