Watch CBS News

Lawsuit Claims Sushi Rice Sold To California Restaurants Tainted With Rodent Soiling, Black Mold

LOS ANGELES ( — If you have eaten sushi in California in the past four years, you could be part of a class-action lawsuit.

The lawsuit suggests sushi enthusiasts throughout California for years have been fed rice that may have been tainted.

Areas such as Los Angeles, where there is a tremendous sushi demand, may be particularly exposed to what is called "flush," or unnatural rice ingredients.

Attorney Brian Kabateck discussed flush with CBS2's Elsa Ramon.

"The rice is adulterated with what's called flush in this industry," Kabateck said. "And flush in the industry is anything that is not supposed to be in the rice."

In the lawsuit, Farmer's Rice Cooperative is accused of selling the tainted rice to thousands of grocery stores across California.

Particularly, the names New Variety, New Rose and Imperial Rose are associated with the bad rice.

The complaint alleges the company would "allow substances, such as insects, rodents and their soiling, bird remains and black mold to be present in its processed rice."

Later, the complaint claims that restaurant and store owners were led to believe they were buying U.S. No. 1 Extra Fancy rice.

What they received, however, according to the complaint, was not edible.

"Disposing flush rice by blending it with food-grade rice unfairly allowed defendants to obtain a profit from rice that could not be legally sold for human consumption," the complain states.

Kabateck also suggested the blend sold to restaurants and stores, in fact, contained more inedible than edible rice.

"This rice, although they claim it's sushi grade, is as little as 15 percent sushi grade, and it's adulterated with other inferior rices," Kabateck said.

The Farmer's Rice Cooperative rejected the accusations Tuesday night, saying: "We believe the charges are baseless and look forward to the opportunity to vindicate ourselves in court."

For more information on how you may be involved in the lawsuit, you can contact Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP at (213) 217-5000, located at 644 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90017.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.