I love potato chips, don’t you? Except in the UK, where I’m from, we call them crisps because we already use the word “chips” to refer to those chunky morsels of potato commonly served with fish. Regardless, chips and crisps – whatever you want to call them – are totally delicious, and Japanese snack company Calbee has long since perfected the perfect marriage of both – their crispy “Jagarico” potato chips, which are shaped exactly like french fries. (Or chips. Wait. I’m getting confused.)
Anyway, Calbee has caused a bit of a scandal by issuing a product recall for approximately 140,000 tubs of their yummy snacks which they feel are not fit for human consumption. But what exactly is wrong with them?
When I first heard the news that there was a mass recall of Calbee’s Jagarico potato chips, I gulped, imagining cockroach feet or rat droppings finding their way into the tubs. Usually I would be more amused than worried, but actually I had literally just finished eating a tub of salad-flavoured Jagarico not an hour earlier, and panic was starting to set in.
▼ They were delicious, but what deadly secret could they be hiding? Perhaps this is the universe’s way of telling me to eat less junk food?!
It turns out my histrionics weren’t necessary, though, because there’s absolutely no risk to human health with the faulty Jagarico tubs at all. The only thing wrong with them is that this particular batch was cooked without the required amount of oil, meaning that the “mouth-feel” wasn’t up to Calbee’s usual standards of crunchy snack perfection.
And, er, that’s it.
Thanking the snack food gods that I wasn’t going to have to be picking cockroach parts out of my teeth, I decided to investigate further.
On March 17, Calbee issued a recall for all 58g tubs of cheese flavoured Jagarico with a production date of February 3, 2015. This batch lacked the requisite amount of oil needed to provide perfect crunchiness. Those who were affected – affected how, we’re not entirely sure, since we usually thrust these things into our mouths without taking a breath between handfuls – by this incident have been advised to call a special hotline.
Here’s what some of Japan’s netizens had to say:
“Actually, I’m curious to know what the dud batch tasted like.”
“I always moisten mine in water before eating, so I don’t care.” (What? Ew!)
“They’re too crunchy anyway. Less crunch is a good thing.”
“I don’t buy this. Something terrible happened at the factory and they just don’t want us to panic…”
“What a waste of snacks.”
“Send the dud batch to meee!”
“I love Jagarico, they fit nicely in my car’s drink holder.”
“If you soak them in water you get mashed potato! Mmm!” (Seriously, is this a thing?)
“There’s something they’re not telling us…”
What do you think, Rocketeers? Do Japan’s snack manufacturers just demand high levels of perfection from their own products, or is there some terrible Jagarico conspiracy going on here?