Back when I was a student I remember blowing past the cooked food in the cafeteria during lunch and picking up pre-packaged foods instead. I admit that might not have been the healthiest choice for a growing boy, but with recent news out of Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, I’m beginning to feel a lot better about it.
On 13 June, a 20-year-old employee of a public school in the city was charged with mixing human feces into the lunch there. More specifically it was found in the “okazu” of the lunch, which loosely translates to “side dish” and refers to the non-rice component of a meal. It’s a pretty wide-ranging term that can refer to pretty much any food from fried chicken to a brick of tofu.
▼ Sadly a lot of okazu have brownish earth tones, making most of them easy to conceal such a horrible thing in.
The incident occurred on 8 October, 2021, when the principal of the school taste-tested the okazu of the day’s meal in advance in the staff room and noticed that it had a peculiar odor and discoloration. He immediately canceled the meal for everyone else and submitted the food to the public health center for examination. The results confirmed that it contained E. coli bacteria, and even though the okazu was made in a separate central facility, no other schools had any trace of fecal matter in their food.
Thanks to the keen senses and quick action of the principal, none of his students or staff members were exposed to the contaminated food and did not suffer any illness as a result. A subsequent investigation led back to the staff member, …continue reading