Japan's health ministry has removed raw beef liver from its restaurant menus indefinitely, The Telegraph is reporting. Many in Japan are disappointed by the ban as raw beef liver (served with onions and sauce) is a very popular dish.
"When you actually cook liver, it's a bit rough, but raw, it's very easy to eat," said 38-year old Yoshiko Miki. According to The Telegraph, Miki rushed to Kintan, a downtown restaurant that specializes in the dish, before the ban was officially intact.
Miki said the fact that he wouldn't be able to eat the dish anymore was "quite sad."
Food analyst Chiharu Saito, a member of the Japan Food analyst association said beef liver is the most popular of the raw meat items on sale in Japan.
She said she believed beef liver was banned because it has the greatest chance of causing food poisoning.
According to Times Live, the ban comes after a series of food poisoning cases related to the dish. Five people died and 24 became seriously ill after eating the dish at a popular restaurant chain.
Anyone who violates the ban can face two years in prison or a fine of up to 2 million yen, The Japan Times reports.
A Health, Labor, and Ministry official said the food poisoning cases led to the revelation that there are really no measures taken to ensure raw beef liver is safe for public consumption. The ban could be lifted if methods to ensure safety are devised.
Takashi Kuwano, a 30-year old salaryman who was waiting in line at an Osaka restaurant to get the dish before the ban took effect, said "We know that it's dangerous because it's raw. I want them to let those who want to eat (raw liver at their own risk) to do so, The Japan Times reports.
Yuichi Kamata, management chief at Edge, the company that oversees Kintan, said that probably 90% of customers come to the restaurant specifically for the raw beef liver dish, The Telegraph reports. The dish costs around 1,800 yen ($23).
Kintan said it was looking into new dishes to help everyone deal with the ban. One idea is to partially cook the liver.