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Kura Sushi falls short in hygiene inspections in New Taipei

04/12/2024 09:23 PM
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New Taipei City health inspectors examine a foodcourt branch in Banqiao of the sushi restaurant chain in this photo released on Friday. Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Department of Health April 12, 2024
New Taipei City health inspectors examine a foodcourt branch in Banqiao of the sushi restaurant chain in this photo released on Friday. Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Department of Health April 12, 2024

Taipei, April 12 (CNA) Only three of the 12 New Taipei branches of the Kura Sushi restaurant chain met hygiene standards in inspections conducted after food poisoning cases occurred in some of those branches, New Taipei City's Department of Health said Friday.

In a statement, the department said it had completed inspections of the 12 New Taipei branches, and found that seven -- Xindian, Zhonghe, Banqiao, Sanxia, Sanchong Jixian, Sanchong Jieyun Road, and Xinzhuang Siyuan Road -- did not meet the required standards.

The Tamsui and Xinzhuang Honhui branches are temporarily closed following the suspected food poisoning cases, and the Tamsui branch, which has also suspended operations, proposed a hygiene improvement plan, but officials have not yet approved its resumption of operations.

The department said it identified dirty equipment and frost in the freezers of some branches and has instructed operators to make improvements within a specified period of time.

If they fail to do so, the operators could face fines of between NT$60,000 (US$1,860) and NT$200 million, the department said.

As of 3 p.m. Friday, no additional suspected food poisoning cases had been reported, it added.

New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) said Friday that officials have made efforts to inspect all Kura Sushi branches in New Taipei, while the central government has launched investigations into the 55 branches across Taiwan.

In a statement Thursday night, the department said two additional suspected food poisoning cases were reported by individuals who dined at the Xindian branch of the sushi restaurant on Tuesday, experiencing symptoms such as a stomach ache and diarrhea.

As of Thursday at 6 p.m., a total of four people who dined at the Xinzhuang Honhui branch had reported possible cases of food poisoning, with three of them returning home after seeking medical attention at Taipei's Shuang Ho Hospital.

Officials said that after receiving reports on the situation, they specifically inspected a type of tuna sushi and a type of sanma nigiri sushi at the branch.

Kura Sushi issued an apology on its website on Thursday, saying that it had made improvements in the areas deemed substandard at some of its branches by the health department.

It said its ingredients at the Tamsui branch were inspected and met applicable standards, and the restaurant's general environment also passed the health department's re-inspection.

The Tamsui branch will resume operations after receiving approval from the health department, it said.

(By Sunrise Huang and Evelyn Yang)

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