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Maruha apologizes after pesticide found in frozen food

22 Comments

Executives of food maker Maruha Nichiro Inc have apologized after pesticide was found in some of its frozen food lines made by its subsidiary Aqli Foods Corp at its plant in Oizumi, Gunma Prefecture.

On Monday, Maruha began recalling 6.3 million packs of frozen food products, including pizzas and croquettes, after traces of the agricultural pesticide malathion were found in them.

The company became aware of the problem after consumers returned products to retail outlets, complaining of a nauseous smell. There have been no reports of anyone falling ill because of the pesticide, police said.

Company officials said at a news conference they were as yet unable to determine how the pesticide got into the frozen food, TBS reported.

Gunma prefectural government health officials on Monday inspected the Aqli Foods plant to see if the company has violated the food sanitation law.

Police said they are also considering the possibility that the insecticide may have been placed in the production process intentionally, TBS reported.

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22 Comments
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Oh no. I'm well aware that a lot of process workers in Japan are not actually Japanese ... this is one of those times where you're praying please please please don't let it be a disgruntled foreign employee.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Oh no. I'm well aware that a lot of process workers in Japan are not actually Japanese ... this is one of those times where you're praying please please please don't let it be a disgruntled foreign employee.

Why talk about, "foreign", workers so suddenly here? It could easily be a Japanese worker too. Over the years there have been many blackmail attempts by Japanese people putting needles, dangerous drugs into a wide variety of products at both supermarkets and convenience stores. Actually I would bet on it that the overwhelming majority of these types of incidents have been by Japanese people. It's the typical well one foreign worker (country unnamed of course) did it, so all foreigners must be bad?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

@Tess If you look at all the Hotels and restaurants that have been investigated and closed recently because of lies and deceits, how is it that the 'foreigners' as you put it have anything to do with it?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Tessa: "this is one of those times where you're praying please please please don't let it be a disgruntled foreign employee."

So you're praying it was a disgruntled Japanese employee? does that somehow make it better? But hey, I guess there is one good point about suggesting it might be a foreign employee -- it'll actually be investigated thoroughly if the authorities believed it, and someone might actually be prosecuted instead of just a company in-house investigation and an apology being accepted.

At least no one has fallen ill that we know of. THAT is the most important point.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Sounds like an anthropogenic contamination.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A little background, folks: a few years ago there was a hugely publicised incident involving tainted frozen food products processed in China. Several people in Japan fell ill after eating gyoza that had been deliberately contaminated with pesticide. In that case the culprit really was a disgruntled worker in the Chinese factory. This recent case is different because the plant is located in Japan, but you can be sure that local people are noticing the similarity between the two cases. And I think you've all noticed the unshakeable faith that Japanese people tend to have in the safety and quality of their domestically produced food products, despite all evidence to the contrary (regular outbreaks of food poisoning, deceptive menus in restaurants, false labelling, and let's not mention the whole radioactive contamination thing that everyone seems determined to ignore).

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Tessa, your only focusing on one case though. It seems to me, that you have no idea about other cases in Japan with people putting needles, medicine and other dangerous materials into foods, medicines etc. You should really do some research before putting up posts like you did.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@LiveInTokyo: my point is that despite all these cases of food tampering and contamination caused by Japanese people in Japan, most people here would still rather believe that their food is absolutely safe and their hygiene standards are superior. Hence they would be far more willing to point the finger at a non-Japanese perpetrator in a case like this. If the culprit turns out to be Japanese, then they'll shrug it off and the whole matter will disappear from the national consciousness in a matter of days. If, however, it's a non-Japanese person? They won't forget about that in such a hurry.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Whether or not a Japanese or non-Japanese is responsible is irrelevant at this time, since the cause is unknown. Please stay on topic

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Folks looks like this happened at the FARM not the factory, just saying!

There are virtually NO CHECKS on domestic produce & lots of chemicals are used, I try not to eat nashi as they can be sprayed 30-40times in a season, you all have been warned!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Could be a setup, sabotage the competition if you will. No one was reported to fall severely ill so thats a good thing. Its amazing actually, i've handled malthion before and its nasty!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are virtually NO CHECKS on domestic produce & lots of chemicals are used.

Used to teach English to a Japanese farmer who told me that he never ate his own produce, and strongly advised me to avoid winter vegetables grown here because of the chemicals. Paradoxically, foreign-grown produce is subject to much stricter food safety checks.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If it's not one food scandal it's another! I tell you before you know it nothing will be safe to eat. I try to avoid anything from china,but now i am very skeptical of Japan in the wake of all these scandals over the years,would grow my own veggies if I have the planting space.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can not get over this attitude that a simple 'SORRY' just wipes all blame away, sickness incured, possible death and loss of money.

When will we ever learn that enough is enough and boycott all of their products untill they learn that a simple 'SORRY' is not enough.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Bear27840 Sadly i strongly believe that enough will never be enough until people start dropping like flies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, isn't that just fan-trucking-tastic coming from a country that recently gained world heritage listing for their cuisine. Japan's food is a pike of conglomerated shit!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

QA at the company is at fault and the leadership of said company needs to deal with the problem.

They need to find out who or what happened and ensure the safety of their products.

Police said they are also considering the possibility that the insecticide may have been placed in the production process intentionally, TBS reported.

Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

Both quotes are from Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" and they still stand the test of time.

Translation, the company needs to look at it's suppliers and it's staff to find where this happened.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

With the new secrecy laws, we may never find out what is happening.

Do NOT trust a government that does not trust its own people!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At least they apologized and have honor.

Everyone makes mistakes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@oldman Apologizing is great and having honor is also wonderful but it still does not solve the problem,and I think as long as people feel they can do things intentionally or otherwise and then apologize then we are never going to be without some type of scandal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

oldman_13 at Jan. 01, 2014 - 02:58AM JST At least they apologized and have honor. Everyone makes mistakes.

This is true. You are very wise and will fit in well in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have worked in food factories in many countries, its VERY EASY to taint the foor with pesticide. as simple as a worker with a bag full of any cheap pesticide and pour it into any stage of the food process. It could be anyone that has access to the factory. MAYBE AN ANGRY WORKER?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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