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2008年7月 4日 (金)

ウナギ偽装(読売)

(Jul. 4, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Food mislabeling never pays

ウナギ偽装 食品不正は隠し通せない(7月4日付・読売社説)

Trading firm Uohide in Osaka and seafood wholesaler Shinko Gyorui Ltd. in Kobe allegedly made huge undue profits by mislabeling grilled Chinese eel as domestic.

Police searched their offices Thursday over alleged violations of the Unfair Competition Prevention Law.

中国産を国産に化かす表示だけで、暴利をむさぼっていた。

ウナギ販売業「魚秀」(大阪市)と水産物卸売業「神港魚類」(神戸市)が中国産ウナギのかば焼きを国産に偽装したとして、警察が不正競争防止法違反容疑で捜索した。

(undue=過度の、むちゃな、甚だしい)

Their scheme to camouflage the false labelings was extremely malicious. Uohide established a bogus production company, which on paper sold 256 tons of grilled eel to Shinko Gyorui through a complicated system involving two trading firms.

偽装の手口は極めて悪質だ。魚秀は、架空の製造会社をでっち上げ、書類上は2商社を絡ませた複雑な経路で、256トンのかば焼きを神港魚類に販売した。

(camouflage=偽装) (malicious=悪意のある、故意の) (bogus=偽の、偽りの)

Grilled Chinese eel mislabeled as a high-quality product from Isshikicho, Aichi Prefecture, made it to store shelves. Many consumers apparently were tricked by upmarket labeling into buying the low-grade Chinese product at twice the price of Chinese eel. Additionally, antibacterial chemicals prohibited in cultivated fish and other foods by the Food Sanitation Law were detected in the eel recalled from the market.

The firms took advantage of consumer desire for food safety and security, and this has further reinforced consumers' distrust in food labeling.

偽装ウナギは、店頭にも並んだ。消費者は「愛知県三河一色産」の表示を信じるしかない。本来の2倍前後の高値で買わされたことになる。回収された分からは、使用禁止の合成抗菌剤まで検出された。安心・安全を求める消費者心理を逆手に取られては、食への不信は高まる一方だ。

(store=蓄える、供給する文法:個々では他動詞) (upmarket labeling=店先のラベル表示?) (antibacterial chemicals=抗菌剤)

(recall=回収する)

===

Harsh punishments needed

(罰則を強化)

An Uohide official has said the company decided to falsify the origin of the Chinese eel because the amount in stock was increasing due to the unpopularity of Chinese products following several people being poisoned by eating Chinese gyoza contaminated with a pesticide.

However, this is a twisting of logic since the company allegedly planned the mislabeling before the poisoning incidents surfaced.

魚秀側は「中国製ギョーザ中毒事件で在庫が膨らんだため」と釈明したが、事件以前から偽装工作は進んでいた。詭弁であろう。

A Shinko Gyorui division chief is suspected of receiving 10 million yen from Uohide, which also allegedly asked him to take all the blame for mislabeling in return for receiving 100 million yen in hush money.

神港魚類の担当課長は、魚秀側から1000万円を受け取っている。1億円で偽装の責任をかぶるよう頼まれたとの話まである。

But Shinko Gyorui as a company is not immune from blame because it failed to recall eel from stores quickly, continuing their sales even after a company affiliated with it warned of the possibility of mislabeling.

会社自体も、関連会社に偽装の指摘を受けながら販売を続け、回収も遅れた。非難は免れまい。

(immune=罪を免れる) (company affiliatee with it=神港魚類の関連会社)

Last year, Meat Hope Co., a meat packing company in Hokkaido, was found to have mislabeled ground beef mixed with pork and lamb as 100 percent beef. Even after that, however, food-related scandals kept surfacing, such as cases involving the time-honored companies Akafuku and Senba Kitcho. Just last month a meat wholesaler in Gifu Prefecture was found to have mislabeled low-grade beef as high-quality Hida beef.

食品の不祥事は、豚や羊の肉を混ぜた「牛肉ミンチ」を販売した「ミートホープ」事件後も、老舗の「赤福」や「船場吉兆」と相次ぎ、先月にも「飛騨牛」の等級偽装が発覚した。

The mislabeling of Chinese eel is said to have generated undue profits totaling 300 million yen. Police are even planning to slap fraud charges on the firms, which allows for stricter penalties on violators. Authorities should clear up the whole picture of the affair and impose severe punishments on the violators to put an end to recurrence of mislabeling cases.

ウナギ偽装の不正利益は3億円に上るという。警察は量刑の重い詐欺罪の適用も検討している。早期に全容を解明し、厳罰をもって偽装の続発を断ち切るべきだ。

(slap=取り締まる) (recurrence=再発、再現、繰り返し)

===

Society's tolerance at an end

The latest case surfaced with a call to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry's hotline soliciting information about food mislabeling. The hotline last fiscal year received 4,574 calls, more than five times the number of calls it had when it was opened several years ago.

In addition to the disclosure of inside information from whistle-blowers, consumers are paying close attention to mislabelings. Not only the food industry but all other industries should remember that they can never succeed in concealing illicit businesses in today's society.

この事件も、農林水産省の「食品表示110番」で表面化した。昨年度の通報件数は、設置直後の5倍を超える4574件に急増した。内部情報も含め、消費者の監視の目は厳しい。食品業界のみならず、もはや、不正を隠し通せる時代でないことを心すべきだ。

(conceal=隠す) (illicit=不法な、禁制の)

The ministry has disclosed information of food-related misconduct based on the Japan Agricultural Standards Law. According to the law, a person found violating the law can be sentenced up to one year in prison and a corporate violator can be fined up to 100 million yen. But those punishments can be handed down only when the ministry's improvement orders are not obeyed. There is no precedent of such penalties. However those severe punishments are meaningless unless they are actually handed down to violators.

農水省は、日本農林規格(JAS)法に基づき、食品不正があれば公表している。JAS法は個人に1年以下の懲役、法人には1億円以下の罰金も科せるが、改善命令に従わなかった場合に限られ、罰則例は皆無だ。「抜かずの宝刀」では意味がない。

(precedent=前例、先例、慣例I)

A consumer agency will be created next spring that will have authority over consumer laws, including those related to food safety and labeling.

来春にも、消費者庁が創設され、食品の安全や表示に関する法律も移管される見込みだ。

With the creation of this agency, inspection powers currently in the hands of various central government entities and local governments according to different laws should be unified and enhanced while a system that never fails in punishing violators should be developed.

法律ごとに、省庁や自治体に分かれた検査権限を集約して強化するとともに、「必罰」の制度整備を進める必要があろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 4, 2008)
2008740131
  読売新聞)

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