Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sushi Chef Indicted for Selling Whale Meat in Santa Monica, CA

Chef Yamamoto (photo courtesy of Eater)

Various outlets have been reporting over the last few years about the growing problem of restaurants serving illegal foods such as endangered species of animals or mammals you just shouldn’t eat. Today the LA Times reported about an open case from a couple of years ago where an importer by the name of Ginichi Ohira plead guilty to getting cracked for conspiring to import and sell illegal whale meat. Mislabeling the meat from Sei Whales as Fatty Tuna from the years 2007 to 2010 Owners of the now closed (because of this case) The Hump, which was housed in the Santa Monica Airport have also been charged with Conspiracy, Smuggling, Obstructing an official proceeding, Unlawful sale of whale meat and Violating the marine mammal act. 
More Info & Photos after the jump

If convicted Sushi Chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto (48) could face up to 67 years in prison while the rest of his crimies could face 10 years or so. The restaurants ownership now faces up to $1.2 million in fines. Sounds to me like someone got caught and snitched to get out of doing some major time. Imagine how many people passed through the doors of that spot over those few years and ate whale meat? What if someone where to actually have been highly allergic to some form of genetic compound found in whale meat and had a horrible adverse reaction or even worse died from eating such a product.

That kind of blatant disregard for not only the customers but, more importantly the eco system should find all of these guys in jail and unable to ever operate in the food industry again.
Similar to how Lawyers and Doctors are unable to practice the professions they spent years going to school to get a degree in to throw it all away for money or to cater to an ego, these kinds of events cannot go unnoticed. On a side note, Chef Yamamoto upon closing The Hump found a backer for his ultra exclusive / invitation only that was recently named one of the most expensive restaurants in Los Angeles, so imagine how much money these guys have been pulling in as of late.  Typhoon Restaurant Inc. the corporate parent of The Hump has refused to comment on the situation.

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