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Udon chain in Japan apologises after diner finds live frog in takeaway cup of noodles

This article is more than 12 months old

A diner in Japan who wanted to try the latest offering from a noodle restaurant got more than he bargained for – his takeaway cup of udon contained a live frog.

The man, who goes by Kaito on Twitter, was on a business trip in the prefecture of Nagasaki when he visited a Marugame Seimen outlet in Isahaya city on Sunday.

He ordered a cup of Shake Udon at the famous noodle chain store and set to shaking and mixing the condiments as recommended, including some minced meat in chilli sesame sauce similar to that used in dandan noodles.

After consuming most of his food, he came face-to-face with a bright green frog – still very much alive and moving in the broth.

In a video posted on Twitter on Monday, Kaito is seen using chopsticks to gently lift the frog out of the broth at the bottom of his udon cup.

He conveyed a message of caution to other diners, saying that the outlet closed for three hours that day but resumed operations in the evening, with the same items still available.

The popular udon chain, which has over 1,000 outlets in and out of Japan – including one in Singapore’s Ion Orchard – confirmed the incident on its website on Tuesday, and apologised to its diners for causing concern and inconvenience.

Marugame said that according to local public health authorities, the frog was likely mixed into the ingredients at a factory processing its vegetables.

The company added that it would strengthen inspection at all its factories and partnering raw material plants handling vegetables.

Menu items with raw vegetables, including the Shake Udon cups, have been suspended for three days until Thursday, the chain said.

The Shake Udon cup is a recent takeaway-only innovation by the Marugame chain, which reportedly sold more than 200,000 cups in the first three days since its May 16 addition to the menu in Japan.

The amphibian discovery recalled an incident on May 11, when a frog was found in a salad bought from a supermarket in Nagano in central Japan.

Amphibian expert Yasushi Kawakami, who is also a curator at the Tottori Prefectural Museum, told Japanese news site TBS News Dig that the incidents could be connected to the fact that the months of May and June constitute the most active breeding season for frogs in Japan.

Hanzaki Research Institute chairman Sumio Okada urged calm, saying that it was not uncommon for frogs to be mixed in with vegetables.

“From around early May, the frogs... are actively trying to catch food for breeding. Therefore, it is possible that the vegetables were harvested and shipped while the frogs were still attached,” said Dr Okada.

“I’d be surprised if there was a frog in my salad, but I don’t think there’s any health hazard, even if a little bit (of frog) goes into my mouth, so calm down.”

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