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Key Largo sushi restaurant with misleading menu, 37 violations, reopens

Sushi Nami menu labeled escolar as white tuna

KEY LARGO, Fla. – Customers at a Key Largo sushi bar thought they were ordering white tuna off menu – what they were actually eating was escolar, according to state inspectors.

When Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier asked a chef at Sushi Nami of the restaurant if escolar was on the menu, he was answered with laughter and a no.

Sushi Nami, located at mile marker 99, was cited last week for having a misleading menu item.

If customers really knew about escolar they might steer clear as it’s known as the “Ex-Lax” fish. The bottom feeder is packed with an indigestible waxy substance that can cause explosive, oily orange diarrhea, nausea and cramping.

And the chef, who said he was aware of the risks, didn’t mind serving it up.

And Sushi Nami isn’t alone in serving the fish.

A recent study showed that 84 percent of white tuna sold in the United States is actually escolar.

Italy and Japan have banned the fish from sale due to the possible side effects. Canada, Sweden and Denmark require it to be sold with a warning label.

In the United States escolar can be sold without any warnings.

When asked why they called the fish white tuna on the menu, the chef answered "I don’t know, I never test that. I don’t eat raw fish."

He did tell Local 10 News that he’s no longer telling customers that the escolar on the menu is white tuna.

The misleading menu wasn’t the only problem as state inspectors found 37 violations at the restaurant.

The doors were ordered shut after roach excrement and rodent droppings were found in the kitchen and sushi station.

Sushi Nami reopened after a re-inspection.