A breaking story from La Jolla tells that eight sushi restaurants have been convicted of serving lobster rolls that didn’t have any lobster in them. Investigators from the City Attorney’s office purchased lobster rolls from various restaurants in the San Diego area and then sent them to a laboratory where DNA testing confirmed there was no-o-o-o lobster. None at all. Nada. Zilch.
Please insert dramatic crime show music, ba-ba-bummmm.
I imagine this story will not appear on the next episode of CSI but nonetheless I find it interesting. The story explains that instead of lobster, testing revealed the substitution of various types of less expensive seafood like crawfish or Pollock.
Last May, Christi and I took a few days off to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We were window shopping in Ensenada (Baja California, MX) when a shop owner asked, in English, if we’d seen the news that day. We had not so he pulled out his smart phone and showed us a breaking story from Tijuana. A popular Chinese food restaurant was found to be snatching up stray dogs from around the city, slaughtering them and serving their meat as either pork or beef.
Yeewww… I know it’s not a pretty story. And, the video shown on this man’s smart phone was disturbing as the videotaped restaurant workers had been caught in the act. I’m trying to avoid drawing socio-economic conclusions from this story by comparing life in Tijuana and life in La Jolla because killing stray dogs and serving them in Chinese food seems much worse and more heinous than swapping crawfish for lobster. But, my college years working for the Attorney General in Washington remind me that fraud is fraud. Whether it’s dog in Chinese food or crawfish passed as lobster in Japanese food, it’s still fraud. The eight restaurants in our county are being charged under the truth-in-menu law which disallows the undisclosed substitution or adulteration of food and the false advertising or misbranding of food items. This also means that the restaurants are allowed to serve crawfish rolls; they just can’t call them lobster.
There is no California law against a Christian who doesn’t act Christ-like. Nevertheless, to claim to be a follower of Christ and then not live it out is an adulteration. It is false advertising; it’s misbranding. The action of someone who protests military funerals, and claims to do it with God’s blessing, or someone who attacks Planned Parenthood facilities in the name of Christ is an adulteration – a corruption, a falsifying debauchery of claiming one thing and doing something else. Jesus cautioned us about adulterating our relationship with God. Don’t say you love God with all your heart and then serve another master, he warns. It looks bad for all who believe and is doubly bad on the person who does it if it causes another to stumble.
Jesus lifted up the bread, broke it and said, “This is my body, given for you.” Through faith, we believe in the truth-in-menu with Jesus. We believe it is his body, given for us. We receive it in faith that we will be united with him and one another and blessed by the Holy Spirit. And then, we are called to go out and do the work that has been given us to do. To live lives that truly represent truth-in-menu.