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2 Southern California chefs plead guilty to serving meat of endangered whale at restaurant

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Two chefs have pleaded guilty to serving whale meat at a Southern California restaurant that has since closed. City News Service reports Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and Susumu Ueda entered pleas Monday to conspiracy and other charges involving meat from endangered sei (say) whales. Each faces up to three years in federal prison, along with fines and community service. Prosecutors say the chefs got the meat in 2009 from a fish importer in Gardena who wrote a false invoice describing it as fatty tuna.

Chinese man gets life in jail over tainted food exported to Japan

A 39-year-old Chinese man was sentenced Monday to life in prison for poisoning frozen "gyoza" dumplings that sickened a total of 14 people in Japan and China six years ago, triggering concerns over the safety of food imported from the fast-growing country. "There is no room for leniency," the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court said in handing down the ruling against Lu Yueting, a former temporary worker of a food plant, describing the crime as "despicable" and "premeditated."

Nissin to build 3 China plants for noodle business expansion

Nissin Foods Holdings Co. on Friday announced plans to expand its instant noodle business in China between 2015 and 2016 to meet growing demand. The company, which already owns six instant noodle-making plants in China, will add three more -- in Hong Kong, Fujian and Guangdong provinces. In Hong Kong, Nissin plans to begin production of bag-type instant noodles in July 2016 after building a 6 billion yen plant.

Japan hopes UNESCO cultural heritage designation will help save its traditional cuisine

TOKYO - The United Nations cultural organization has added traditional Japanese food to its cultural heritage list, making it only the second national cuisine to receive the prized designation. A UNESCO committee announced the decision Wednesday at a meeting in Azerbaijan. Previously only French cooking had been distinguished as a national culinary tradition. UNESCO has also recognized specific dishes from Mexico and Turkey, and added the Mediterranean diet — the tradition of sharing food and eating together — at this week's meeting.

Summary Box: Cultural heritage honour sought for traditional Japanese cuisine as tastes change

CULTURAL HONOR: Washoku, the traditional cuisine of Japan, is being considered for designation as part of the world's cultural heritage by the U.N. this week. But even as sushi and sake booms worldwide, purists say its finer points are candidates for the endangered list at home. THE CUISINE: Washoku embraces seasonal ingredients, time-consuming preparation and a style of eating steeped in centuries of tradition. At its heart is savory "umami," recognized as a fundamental taste along with sweet, sour, salty and bitter.

Cultural heritage honour sought for Japanese food but may be endangered as young eat Western

TOKYO - Washoku, the traditional cuisine of Japan, is being considered for designation as part of the world's priceless cultural heritage by the U.N. this week. But even as sushi and sake booms worldwide, purists say its finer points are candidates for the endangered list at home. The younger generation is increasingly eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts and McDonald's, not rice.

Taiwan tycoon grilled over food scandal

The head of a leading Taiwanese food company has been questioned in a widening food scandal involving several major cooking oil retailers, prosecutors said Thursday. Wei Yin-chun is chairman of Wei Chuan Foods Corp, the Taiwanese unit of Ting Hsin International Group which owns the Master Kong instant noodle brand. He was released on bail of Tw$10 million (US$340,000) following an overnight interrogation on suspicion of fraud and violating the food safety law, prosecutors said.

Japan mis-labelling scandal spreads to luxury food

Japan's hotels, restaurants and food shops were being warned Wednesday over dishonest labelling amid a growing scandal that is threatening to undermine the country's reputation for safe, high-quality produce. The direction comes as top department stores became the latest Japanese firms to admit they had been selling food with labels falsely claiming high-quality or expensive ingredients. "It's extremely regrettable as it seriously undermines consumer confidence," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular press conference, speaking about the widening scandal.

Japanese food festival "Oishii Japan" kicks off in India

Food-related events highlighting Japanese cuisine kicked off Friday in India's capital New Delhi and in Mumbai, following the opening ceremony of "Oishii Japan," or Japanese Food Season, at the Japanese embassy in Delhi on Thursday evening. Japanese Food Season -- organized by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs -- aims to promote Japanese food in India and will run until February 2014.

Japanese breakdancer wins Asia-Pacific competition

A Japanese breakdancer has spun and somersaulted his way into the sport's global finals to be staged in South Korea next month after winning a regional competition on home soil. Noritoshi "Nori" Kikuchi showed off a series of downrocks, power moves and freezes to emerge victorious at the "Red Bull BC One" contest held inside a historic Shinto shrine in the southern city of Fukuoka on Saturday.
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