Japan residents are battling illness this week after the makers of a popular frozen food recalled 6.4 million packages, citing a possible pesticide contamination.
Maruha Nichiro Holdings issued warnings to consumers about several different frozen items after they were found to be tainted with high levels of malathion; about 550 people have been confirmed to have suffered illness after eating the products, including a 9-month old baby who was hospitalized after eating creamy corn croquettes.
“The products will have a strong smell and eating them may cause vomiting and stomach pain,’’ the recall notice said.
Several items were included in the recall, including frozen pizzas, croquettes and lasagna. While no deaths have been reported, the pesticide is said to be fatal in high doses, causing a panic among consumers. Police are conducting an investigation as to how the food became contaminated with the poison with up to 2.6 million times the allowable limit.
Malathion is used in farming, gardening, and to kill insects such as fleas. It’s unclear at this time how such high levels could have gotten into the food.
The recall comes at a time when food safety is a concern in Japan after the Fukushima disaster, which polluted several acres of farmland.