If you knew sushi: Japan in global quality crackdown

Japan cracks down on global sushi quality

The Japanese government is launching a new certification program in an effort to crack down on poor-quality sushi made overseas, local media reports.

A growing number of sushi purists are up in arms at what they see as substandard food preparation and service in a growing number of restaurants outside Japan, the Kyodo news agency reports.

There are complaints that sushi in Moscow, for example, may be served with mayonnaise while in Paris, plates are slammed down, disturbing the arrangement.

As part of their training, potential sushi student chefs will travel to Japan to be trained and rated on their understanding of the Japanese food culture, how they handle raw seafood, their level of customer service and dish presentation.

It's an attempt to protect washoku, or Japanese cuisine, which was deemed an "intangible cultural heritage" by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) back in 2013. There are some 88,700 Japanese restaurants registered globally as of July 2015 — up from the 55,100 registered in 2013.

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"By enhancing their understanding of washoku, we hope to raise the quality of (Japanese) restaurants overseas and expand exports of Japanese farm products and seasonings," an official for Japan's Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry told Kyodo.

The ministry is expected to set up a private agency to manage the certification system, with restaurants and cooking colleges set up to train and provide lessons to chefs, Kyodo reported.

The program is expected to launch later this year.

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