- Published on Tuesday, 05 February 2008 11:21
JAPAN - Japan warned China that its reputation was on the line on Friday, 1 February as companies recalled Chinese-made food after hundreds of Japanese reportedly fell ill from tainted dumplings. China is Japan’s largest trading partner and the second biggest supplier of imported food.
Besides six major food distributors recalling frozen and prepared foods believed to from the Chinese Tianyang Food Processing plant which also produced the tainted dumplings, other major Japanese brands such as Ajinomoto, Glico, Katokichi and Kibun recalled more than 30 dishes on Friday including Chinese-style stir-fries, skewered and barbecued pork, beef tongue and curries.
Japanese Trade Minister Akira Amari was reported by local media as saying that China "must exert all its efforts to make sure this will not trigger sentiment in Japan against products made in China."
Although Chinese officials claimed that its primary tests on ingredient used by Tianyang showed that there were no signs of contamination in dumplings from the same batches as those whom the affected Japanese consumed, they promised an investigation into the matter.
Japan urged China to be throughout in its checks.
Chief government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura said, "China should pay utmost attention and realize the importance of food safety."
Last week, more than 400 Japanese consumers were sickened after eating dumplings imported from China. The frozen dumplings were found by Japanese officials to contain traces of an organic phosphorus insecticide called methamidophos, which causes severe abdominal pains, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Since then, the Japanese health ministry has set up a call center to respond to a flood of inquiries from consumers. A total of 175 people called to say they had stomach aches, nausea or other symptoms from the dumplings.
Media reports though, have cited different figures. Kyodo News said 498 people had told local and national authorities they felt ill after eating the Chinese dumplings.
The health ministry said that ten people were still sick, with five still in hospital.
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