Chain restaurant fined for falsely labeling food products

Hu Min
The outlet of Isshoni Sukiyaki, a Japanese-style buffet restaurant in a shopping mall in Yangpu's Wujiaochang area, was discovered to be serving diners flounder labeled as codfish.
Hu Min

A popular Japanese-style buffet chain restaurant registered in Yangpu District has been fined 500,000 yuan (US$78,400) for falsely labeling its food products.

The outlet of Isshoni Sukiyaki, a Japanese-style buffet restaurant, at Hopson One, a shopping mall in Yangpu's Wujiaochang area, was discovered to be serving diners flounder labeled as codfish.

The restaurant used flounder and labeled it baked codfish. The practice lasted between May 1 of last year and September 14 of this year, according to the Yangpu District Administration for Market Regulation.

This constituted a violation of China's law against unfair competition, according to the administration.

The restaurant has since altered the menu to correct the issue, the administration said.

The irregularity was spotted by the administration's officials during an inspection in September, which came after one of the restaurant's outlets in Suzhou, in neighboring Jiangsu Province, was exposed for serving diners flounder marked as codfish, cheap beef as Australian Wagyu beef, and even duck liver as foie gras.

The restaurant claimed the beef it served was the best in the catering industry in an advertisement.

A video recorded in the Suzhou outlet's kitchen was uploaded online by social media.

The outlet was also exposed to be using expired matcha and collecting unfinished sashimi from guests, mixing it with fresh food, and serving it again to new diners.

Moreover, an employee was shown eating bubble tea toppings using a diner's serving spoon.

The outlet's dishware was not washed but wiped with paper instead or even put in fire for "disinfection".

The restaurant's operator, Shanghai Fengzhixu Catering Management Co, was ordered to enhance management of its outlets, conduct self-examination, and rectify the issue following the incident.

The chain restaurant has nine outlets in Shanghai, some of which boast booming business with long queues a frequent occurrence. Diners said they had queued for two to three hours to secure a seat.

The catering business apologized and said that the Suzhou outlet had been closed to resolve the issue.

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