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Tainted gyoza affects more than 1,000 across Japan

Date Posted: 2008-02-03

Frozen Chinese dumplings imported from China have caused illness to 1,088 people in Japan, including at least 11 in Okinawa.
The dumplings, sold as gyoza in Japan, were all believed produced by a single Chinese food processing plant, Hebei Foodstuffs Import & Export Group, Tianyang Food Processing, according to authorities. As of Friday night, the 1,088 cases reported have come from 38 prefectures. The Government of Japan says the foods were imported by JT Foods, although 19 companies in Japan import food products originating from the Hebei Foodstuffs facility.
The Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has announced consumers should not eat food products made at Hebei Foodstuffs. Hebei products were ordered off Japanese store shelves by January 30th, but officials caution many people may have purchased Hebei products before the recall was announced.
Those falling ill have complained of sickness and diarrhea after eating the products. Some have also complained of swollen eyes and vomiting. At least 11 cases serious enough to warrant hospital visits have been reported in Okinawa. One instance was in Urasoe City, where a young boy became ill after eating gyoza for dinner.
There are eight supermarket chains in Okinawa that have sold Chinese gyoza. Jusco, Kanehide, San-A, Ryubo, Union, Marudai and Coop Okinawa have carried the gyoza, one of 11,700 Chinese products on their shelves. Supermarket officials say they’ve been removing not only frozen gyoza, but also roll cabbage, noodle soups, pork with green beans, beef bowls and other Chinese made products. One apprehensive supermarket manager predicts “more (cases) will be coming. Right now, we are checking on our customers.”
Government officials confirm they have found traces of an insecticide in the gyoza dumplings. JT Foods, which imports the Chinese products, has a website with details on products: http://www.jti.co.jp/JTI/attention/about_recall20080130_2.html. Similarly, the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa has posted its own web page with food recall information: http://okib.oki.med.navy.mil/Safety/Temp/Gyoza_Recall.doc.
A case involving a Chiba Inage Ward family Friday has officials worried after extremely high pesticide levels were found in uneaten gyoza at the family’s home. Research by Co-op Net revealed pesticide density levels of 130 parts per million, 100~400 times higher than permissible Japanese food regulations permit for common gyoza ingredients, which include Chinese cabbage and chives.

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