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Okinawa supermarkets give Nippon Ham boot

Date Posted: 2002-08-15

Major Okinawan supermarket chains, including San-A, Primart and Max Value have removed all meat products of Nippon Ham following the company’s admission that it mislabeled beef as domestically produced while it was, in fact, imported. Nippon Ham is the largest producer of meat products in Japan.

The company allegedly mislabeled the products in order to assure customers that they were safe amid scare over BSU that was discovered in some European countries earlier this year. The company also pocketed considerable government subsidies as domestically produced Japanese beef is heavily supported with tax money from the government.

The supermarkets say that the scandal has had a big impact on consumer confidence. It comes only six months after another large company, Snow Brand, was forced out of business after it was discovered mislabeling imported beef as domestic.

Removing Nippon Ham products from the shelves has a big impact as as much as 40 percent of meat products sold were produced by Nippon Ham.

“The scandal is confusing our customers, and they do not know what they are actually buying. Removing their products from our shelves will cut our total sales volume, but it is better to remove them and keep the confidence of our customers,” one San-A store manager says.

A manager at Jusco agrees. “We cannot risk to lose our customers’ trust. That’s why we don’t sell Nippon Ham products until the problem is completely resolved.

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