Company to give Jew's Ear Juice a new name

Source:Global Times Published: 2010-8-31 8:35:00

By Craig Curtis

A Chinese company said it is changing the name of its The Jew's Ear Juice product, days after an Israeli government official publicly praised the name of the drink for fostering a positive stereotype about Jewish people among Chinese customers.

The Xiaxing China Industry Company, which produces the drink made from fungi that began selling at city stores a year ago, however, said Monday that it was unaware that the original name of the drink had such connotations.

Last week, Jackie Eldan, consulate general of the Consulate General of Israel in Shanghai, told Jewish media that Chinese people who refer to themselves as the "Jews of China" do so because they believe that Jewish people are hard-working and creative.

"The term is used to refer to people who have the ambition to excel and think outside the box," Eldan told the Global Times Monday.

According to a spokeswoman surnamed Wang from Xiaxing, the name of the drink will be re-branded as Black Fungus Juice because the original name is too long and complicated, which makes the product difficult to market. She added that the name The Jew's Ear Juice was previously selected randomly, with no intention of linking the product to Jewish people.

"We looked up the English translation of this type of fungi and found it listed as that in English," she told the Global Times Monday. "We never meant to create images of Jewish people to sell our product."

The Jew's Ear Juice is made from a fungus scientifically classified as Auricularia auricula-judae. But to everyday people, the fungus is known as black wood ear, jelly ear, Juda's ear fungus or Jew's Ear.

The latter names were given to the fungus based on a Christian story about the 13th apostle Judas, who hung himself from an elder tree, which was later discovered to grow the fungus. Consequently, "Jew's meat" became a derogatory term used for fungi in Medieval Europe.


Posted in: Society, Metro Shanghai

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