Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Poisoning Japanese food: Contract worker arrested after 6 mn products recalled

Published time: January 26, 2014 16:02
Edited time: January 27, 2014 01:09
Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon

Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon

Japanese police have arrested Toshiki Abe, a factory worker, over suspicions that he poisoned frozen foods with pesticides, causing more than 2,800 people to fall ill across the country.

Abe, 49, is the employee of a frozen food factory in Gunma north of Tokyo, which is run by Aqli Foods, according to Kyodo news agency. Aqli Foods is a subsidiary of Japan’s largest seafood firm, Maruha Nichiro Holdings.

Abe denies the allegations, but has not explained why he was missing for 10 days before his arrest, police said.

At least 2,843 people nationwide have complained of illnesses after eating the suspect products – most displaying mild symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps.

Aqli Foods received the first complaints in November, when a customer said one of its frozen pizzas smelled like engine oil.

However, the firm did not have a product recall until December 29, when the results of tests found traces of a chemical called malathion - used as a pesticide and to treat head lice - in packages of mixed pizza, chicken nuggets, gratin, and corn croquette.

Aqli Foods recalled over six million products, with 5.5 million packages recovered by January 21. The company said that none of the products in question have been shipped overseas.

Police were initially looking for a person responsible for mixing in the pesticide at the packing stage, as various products contained it. However, authorities later learnt that workers could easily move between different production lines.

Abe mainly worked on the pizza production line, where he kneaded and baked dough. He was working every day that the poisoned packages were produced. On January 10, police received an official report of damages from Aqli Foods and began a more thorough questioning of all the workers at the plant.

Suspicion landed on Abe when his family reported him missing on January 14. He was eventually found on January 24 in a parking lot in Saitama, a neighboring prefecture.

The man has been employed as a contractor at the plant since October 2005, meaning he must renew his work contract every six months and does not receive all the benefits given to regular workers.

Abe’s neighbors said the man once complained that he was facing difficulties because of the low salary paid to contracted workers, according to Asahi Shimbun daily. However, the actual motive is still under investigation. Police suspect Abe of seeking to obstruct business operations at the plant by forcing a recall and shutdown.

Food safety standards are high in Japan and companies that fall short of public expectation can experience ensuing damage for years. The president of Maruha Nichiro Holdings, Toshio Kushiro, said he would take responsibility for the incident and has announced that he will resign at the end of March.

Comments (15)

 

Andrew 27.01.2014 11:26

NWO agenda. Depopulation of Japan by any means. Another scapegoat found. Say Hallo to Lee Harvey Oswald!

 

Puddintain 27.01.2014 00:36

Wow, could you imagine the collapse of industry in America if we had people who took their responsibilities this serious. I feel bad for the man though as it was not his fault.[/quote]

Could you imagine that he will "take responsibility" and resign and most likely assume another less public post? This sort of thing goes on all the time, but "taking responsibility" rarely goes further. Hows does that address the problem of an under paid contract employee being able to poison food?

 

Frank Mc Carthy 27.01.2014 00:20

Japanese food has already been poisoned with Fukushima Radiation so what difference dose this make?

View all comments (15)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us

Follow us