: Classifieds : MyJU :
Stories: News
Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

Product tampering suggested as food poisoning source

Date Posted: 2008-02-06

Sales of Chinese-made foods have dropped, Chinese and Japanese investigators are trying to figure how the pesticide methamidophos got onto or into packages of frozen gyoza dumplings, and a senior Japanese ministry official has suggested Tianyang Food products may have been tampered with.
With more than 12-hundred food poisoning cases being attributed to imported dumplings manufactured by Tianyang Food Processing Ltd., Chinese officials have hurried to Tokyo to join Japanese food safety officials in an investigation. The products made by Hebei Foodstuffs, part of the Tianyang foods group, have been found to contain high trace levels of the organic phosphorous pesticide on packages used by consumers or recalled from stores.
Okinawa supermarkets have stripped many Chinese goods from their shelves, while posting signs stating country of origin next to foods. “It’s very difficult to sell anything made in China,” a San-A official says. “Now we sell ‘made in Japan’ and ‘made in Okinawa’ products more than from any other place.” San-A has been a market leader in consumer information, long before the food poisoning cases were announced.
A JUSCO official says “we don’t claim all overseas origin foods are not safe, but we have beefed up our quality control for foods from every country.” He says JUSCO is not singling out Chinese-made products for added scrutiny, pointing out “Other countries produce safe stuff.” Okinawa shoppers have become vocal about now wanting to buy Japanese products, instead of “the cheap stuff”. “I didn’t realize was from China. I’m not going to buy any cheap foods anymore,” said one customer.
The food poisoning scare has caused frozen food sales across Japan to drop dramatically. Supermarkets say frozen food purchases dropped as much as 30% in the days following news of the frozen dumplings cases. JT Company, which imported the foods from Tianyang Foods, has removed the Chinese products from stores across Japan.
Frozen gyoza has been popular with Japanese consumers, particularly when vegetable prices are high. A food company executive says “sales of frozen gyoza shoot up whenever vegetable prices shoot up because of unseasonable weather, largely because of the nutritious ingredients.” Bars and restaurants generally serve the frozen gyoza, rather than make fresh gyoza. More than 40% of the frozen foods purchased in Japan are imported from other countries.
Li Chunfeng, vice director of China’s Import and Export Food Safety Bureau, part of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, is heading the Chinese delegation in Tokyo. He has promised to “cooperate closely” because “we want to swiftly reach a scientific conclusion” as to the cause of the tainted food products. He and a five-member team are meeting with the Japanese Cabinet Office and with the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.
At the same time, Japan has sent a four-member team to China, where it wants to inspect the Hebei Foodstuffs factory where the frozen dumplings are produced. Japanese officials have already briefed the Chinese on events specifics of cases documented to date, says Masaki Ichikawa, a Cabinet official. Ichikawa says the Chinese have already advised the Cabinet of actions China has taken surrounding the food poisonings.
Further stirring consumer fears are reports of supermarkets continuing to sell the frozen gyoza even after problems and food poisoning cases were discovered. An Osaka supermarket has admitted selling the 25 packages, even after an employee discovered packages with problems. The employee is quoted as saying “their sufaces were sticky and had a foul smell.”
Hyogo Prefecture Police say they tested six frozen dumpling packages taken from shelves at Happisu Hirakata supermarket, and found methamidophos inside one of the packages and in the dough. Another package had two 1-mm holes, which police say suggests the food had been tampered with.
In Chiba, frozen dumplings remained on sale for a week after the first case of food poisoning was confirmed. Authorities say more than 6,500 packages of the frozen gyoza were sold during the period. A Co-op says it decided to continue selling the products despite a 36-year-old Chiba woman becoming ill after eating the gyoza. A Co-op spokesman says “We intended to examine new samples and take action after receiving test results.”
Authorities have now recalled millions of gyoza dumplings packages, as well as many other products produced by Tianyang Foods. Dozens of Japanese stores and restaurants say they’ve stopped selling any Chinese products.

Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

weather currency health and beauty restaurants Yellowpages JU Blog

JU FacebookOkistyleOkistyle

Go to advertising PDF?||?|o?L?qAE?|?}?OA?N?ga`OkiStyle?A??q?qM?oeu^?I`??N?gX?<eth>?<ETH>?ni^?IWanted!!Golden Kings ScheduleOkiNightSeeker