At least 2.7 tons of broiled eel, including an endangered Japanese species, was thrown away by the nation’s retailers last year, Greenpeace Japan said Monday, citing the results of a survey.
It is customary to eat grilled or fried eel in late July in hope of beating the summer heat, and the practice is extensively advertised during this special sales promotion period.
According to the Greenpeace survey, a large amount of cooked eel was disposed of mainly because it had reached its best-by date.
The environmental group conducted the survey from last September through January, contacting 18 eel retailers, 16 of which responded.
The group said disposal was confirmed by at least 10 retailers, including Aeon Co. and Maruetsu Inc.
Life Corp replied that the amount of its disposed eel was “nearly zero.”
Only five companies disclosed the volume of dumped eel, amounting to a gross weight of 2.73 tons, equivalent to about 13,650 eels.
Only two retailers out of the 16 that replied — Pal System and Yaoko Co. — said they did not dispose of any eel, while Seiyu GK, a Japanese subsidiary of Walmart Inc., gave an answer of “nondisclosure.”
“The actual situation, from catching young eel to selling, is quite opaque. The current problematic condition of marketing and consumption should be reviewed quickly,” said Greenpeace Japan’s Kazue Komatsubara, who was involved in the survey.