Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Japan: 300 sick after eating contaminated food

07 January 2014, 20:24

Tokyo - More than 300 people across Japan have fallen ill after eating frozen food products contaminated with pesticide, reports said on Tuesday.

Shoppers have reported vomiting, diarrhoea and other symptoms of food poisoning after eating food produced at a plant in Gunma, north of Tokyo, according to surveys carried out by the Asahi Shimbun and other local media.

The plant, run by a subsidiary of the nation's largest seafood firm Maruha Nichiro Holdings, is at the centre of the nation's latest food poisoning scandal.

Japanese police have launched an investigation into the company after it revealed last month that some of its frozen food products were tainted with malathion, an agricultural chemical often used to kill aphid in corn and rice fields.

According to local media, police suspect the pesticide was mixed into the products at the plant, which produced frozen foods including pizza and lasagne.

Asahi Shimbun said it found the number of people who fell sick "exceeded 300", while national broadcaster NHK said on Monday that 359 people had been taken ill.


Maruha Nichiro said that it had received some 460 000 phone calls from consumers in connection with the incident, including complaints about sickening after eating the products, a company spokesperson said.

Calls also included complaints about the unusual odour of some products and ways to return the products, the spokesperson said.

The food maker had so far recovered some 1.2 million packages of potentially tainted products out of 6.4 million it wants to recall, he added.

Maruha Nichiro said that the products in question had not been shipped overseas.

The spokesperson declined to comment on a possible impact of the incident on the company's earnings, only saying: "We have to specify the cause first."

While incidents of food poisoning have occurred in Japan, including in August 2012 when E. coli-contaminated cabbage killed seven people and sickened dozens, food standards are relatively high.

However, the country's reputation for safe and high quality food suffered a body-blow from the after-effects of the Fukushima atomic disaster, in which acres of farmland were polluted by nuclear fall-out.


Tags japan

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
4 ways to handle your cheating ma...

He is cheating. How do you handle him?

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Why do men choose second wives?

Why do men choose to have second wives?

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Wizkid set for twin Kenyan shows

Wizkid is back in Kenya. For two shows.

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Udada women's festival begins in ...

The Udada women's festival has arrived in Nairobi.

Submitted by
Uhuru pardons 2747 death row conv...

President Uhuru Kenyatta has pardoned a number of death row convicts, sending them to life sentences instead. Read more...

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?