Swine fever puts meats from Italy, Germany off menus in Japan
By Hiroyuki Maegawa, The Asahi Shimbun (Japan)
June 21, 2022
Fears of African swine fever (ASF) are keeping raw ham from Italy, along with sausages made in Germany and other renowned meat products from Europe, off Japanese tables.
The effort to contain the infectious viral disease has impacted the menu of a leading family restaurant chain in Japan, and eateries and retailers nationwide are boosting measures to find substitutes for delicacies from the European countries.
In January, the agriculture ministry banned imports of pork and processed goods from Italy.
That decision has affected the offerings of Italian restaurant chefs such as Kazunori Akita, who works at Yamagata San-Dan-Delo in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district.
After the ministry's ban, Akita, 50, received a series of emails from other cooks worrying whether they can continue using raw prosciutto ham and pancetta salted pork.
At San-Dan-Delo, deep-fired vegetables rolled in raw ham serve as a staple on its menu. The fritter dish was developed by the restaurant’s owner and chef, Masayuki Okuda, 52.
As 40 kilograms of raw ham is consumed monthly there as a main ingredient, primarily ham slices from Italy that are mass-produced at cheaper prices than their Japanese counterparts were long used at the establishment.
The ministry's decision rendered it difficult for the eatery operator to procure Italian raw ham. Products still available in Japan were processed and stocked before the import regulation, so they will disappear from the market at some point in the future.
RAW ITALIAN HAM OFF THE MENU ...
BEEFING UP IMPORT CONTROLS ...
GERMAN SAUSAGES STILL 'VERBOTEN' ...