Sushi preview

To improve the world’s quality of sushi, the Japanese government is now offering training to overseas chefs.

In recent years, sushi has transformed from a delicacy bought in very specific locations to a common snack food located in supermarkets and even pharmacies.

Improving sushi quality

Consequently, the quality of the sushi on offer these days is often below par. In response, the Japanese government has set up a program offering overseas chefs training in sushi making in Japan. Once the training is complete, those chefs will be issued with gold, silver or bronze status.

The Japanese government hopes that the implementation of this program will assist with the improvement of sushi making worldwide. In particular, the government hopes that common errors made by chefs, such as low hygiene standards and using erroneous kitchen equipment, will be resolved.

The training program will be voluntary. However, the Japanese government considers that chefs obtaining such official validation will improve their professional reputations in this field. Further, the aim is for consumers to also raise their expectations with regards to the sushi they purchase.

Protecting geographical foods in Australia

In Australia, food products which are associated with a particular geographical region, and have unique characteristics, can be protected under trade mark legislation. Such food products can often be protected as Geographical Indications (“GIs”). Some GIs protected in Australia include Stilton and Roquefort for cheese, Parma for ham and Champagne for sparkling wine. Australian GIs for wine include Coonawarra and Rutherglen. Essentially, products cannot be marketed under a GI unless those products originate from that geographic location, and are produced by a specific method or recipe.

GIs are a useful marketing tool, given their associations with quality and reputation. Consumers benefit from such associations as they provide quality control and certainty. GIs can be protected in Australia in two ways: by registering a certification trade mark or, for wine GIs, by registering via the Wine Australia Corporation.

The benefits of having a registered GI in Australia are:

  1. Obtaining protection for registration as a GI overseas;
  2. The owner of a registered GI can provide Australian Customs with a notice objecting to the importation of goods that infringe that GI;
  3. The owner of a registered GI will be in a stronger position to prevent third parties from using that GI.

Lucy Meadley
Special Counsel

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