Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sashimi chicken liver, anyone?

While training as a cadet pilot in Manila in 1980, I experienced my first bout with food poisoning.
I had no clue what happened and what caused it, until some days later.
All I knew was, I was immobile, wriggling in pain, bedridden for two or three days.

Fast forward to 2010...
Here at my university, I established two student clubs, with plenty of help from the students themselves,of course.
One is a club for international students and the other is for Japanese students.
It has been more than a decade since... and with much honor and pleasure, I remain as advisor to the two clubs.
The Japanese students are very organized, and they work very well as a team.
The international students are, well, independent, and rather weak as a team.

Each year, the Japanese student club holds a welcome event for new members.
This year was no different, as they proceeded to a Japanese pub.
A few days after the event, the president of the club came to me and reported that many of the members are suffering from food poisoning.
They suspected it was chicken liver sashimi... ooh, can you imagine eating raw chicken liver?
Not me... never have, never will...
Forty of them went, and twenty-five fell ill...
We reported to the health authorities in city hall and man, they immediately sprang to action...
I was planning to go home early that day to have dinner with my wife but how can I abandon my obligations as advisor?
So, the officials came... interviewed the club members and have them filled up the necessary details on what they ate, when the pain started, what medicine they took, and what food they ate days before and after the event...
They were asked to take samples of their stools...
Ten days after the event, the same germs(?) were found in the stools of eight of them... Helicobacter Pylori?
So, sashimi chicken liver it was, they confirmed...
The following day, the officials were at the Japanese pub, with a 'close-shop' order for five days.
Each day, once during lunch time and another time in the evening, the officials went to the shop to check that it remained close.
Plus, the shop was ordered to do a thorough cleanup of the premise.
Last week, we went to the shop to negotiate for compensation... for medical bills, for lost income in part time jobs, for transport costs to the hospital...
The shop people were very apologetic throughout the negotiation...
Luckily, they had insurance, so we were negotaiting mostly with the insurance man.
Pooh, what an experience this is turning out to be...
We are still in the midst of the compensation process and I shall have to oversee that all goes well, for the boys and girls of the club...


  1. Vincent Ong6/17/2010

    Chicken Liver Shashimi,oh no!! never fond of liver but tried gyu reba shashi before,it taste pretty good.

    Is good to know the authority in Japan really do their job.

    Living in the Island up north for more than 13 yrs now,as the choice of restaurants are limited.I had been frequent the same restaurant for many-many years but during this period we do encountered food poisioning many times too till one time the ASAM PRAWN that we ordered smell cockroach that we left it after one bite,vomited several times after that but my wife did not throw up until later that nite and
    the next day that i have to take her to hospital for drip due to dehydration.So enough is enough we
    thought to our-self that we will never go to that establishment no more.Then when a friend asked why
    he haven't seen us at that restaurant anymore,i related our stories to him which he told the shop owner about it.Instead of a phone call of apology will be appropriate the owner is accusing me of trying to bad mouthing his establishment.
    Should report this to the Kementerian Kesihatan but will it be any different???
    Is like playing Russian roulette when eating out.The way the food is handle here is very unhygienic.
    Not every establishment are like wise but i consider the number are high.

  2. Yes, the health authorities in Japan really have teeth... as for your case, I suspect nothing much could be done by the Kementerian people as I imagine they would not have the resources to find out the cause... it is very much like playing the roulette for us too, when we return home for makan outside... must be careful to 'sniff' the food first...

  3. During my undergrad years, one of the cafe in the hostel was closed for 2 weeks after an episode of food poisoning. Students were ill taken to the university clinic, reports were made and I'm not sure whether they found the 'causing' dish but they identified the particular stall in the cafe. It was the main stall. The next semester, they are no more in bussiness.

    Hope the compensation process went well for both parties.

  4. Good job by the authorities then... the shop people probably learned a big lesson... still have yet to hear about the conclusion of the compensation negotiation...

  5. it's time for the authorities to press the private business owners to b more responsible. in Msia, i think the level of rights for the consumer is often ignored and downplayed. BUT then again, at times, the consumers also too much....hehe. msia is cancerous one cares to uphold professionalism and efficency in administrating Msia. all talk.

  6. msia is cancerous... ooh... and I am going back soon for a vacation!