Sunday, February 03, 2008

Pesticide in Food Anyone? or maybe not...

Japan police find more pesticide on China dumpling packages
Posted: 03 February 2008 1818 hrs

TOKYO: Japanese investigators have found traces of pesticide on more packages of Chinese-made dumplings, police said on Sunday as Chinese experts arrived in Tokyo to join a widening food poisoning probe.

The toxic substance was found on the surface of six packages of dumplings in western Japan, a spokesman for Hyogo prefectural police said.

The packages were produced at a factory in northern China on the same day as one that triggered a nationwide scare here, the spokesman said, adding that police were still checking if the dumplings themselves were also contaminated.

The Japanese government has said 10 people became sick, with one girl still in serious condition, after eating frozen meat dumplings produced at a factory in China's Hebei province in which high levels of pesticide were detected.

The health ministry said the scare prompted some 950 people to seek medical treatment, but only 10 were diagnosed with pesticide poisoning.

Major foodmakers ordered recalls of frozen and other prepared foods thought to have been produced at the Chinese factory as officials warned Beijing that it had to ensure food safety.

China – Japan's largest trading partner and second biggest supplier of imported food – has denied Tokyo's allegations that the dumplings themselves contained pesticides.

Japanese police have said they were investigating a report of a small tear in a pack of 20 dumplings that made a family ill, opening up the possibility of deliberate tampering.

A team of Chinese experts arrived in Tokyo on Sunday to join the Japanese probe, officials said.

Japanese media quoted Li Chunfeng, a food safety official leading the delegation, as saying before leaving Beijing that his team would work closely with Japanese officials to probe the matter "objectively and fairly".

"We would like to take concerted action with the Japanese side," Li told reporters at Beijing airport.

The global reputation of China's vital manufacturing industry was seriously damaged last year by a string of overseas safety scandals and product recalls involving the country's export goods.

- AFP/so (channelnewsasia)

It'll be some time before I start buying the products again...

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