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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Japan : Police question meat supplier president on E. coli deaths

Article from Japan Today, excerpt :

" TOKYO : Police have questioned the president of Tokyo-based meat supplier Yamatoya Shoten as part of their investigation into a recent spate of raw-beef poisoning deaths linked to a ‘‘yakiniku’’ barbecue restaurant chain, investigative sources said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the health ministry said the same day it plans to begin imposing new penalties for food safety violations as early as October in light of the E. coli food poisoning cases, to press eateries to step up sanitary control measures, as current guidelines are nonbinding.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare also notified local municipalities to instruct restaurants serving raw meat dishes to specify in their menus where the trimming process was conducted, in the hope of easing consumer concerns. Similarly, the agriculture ministry urged restaurants to ensure the trimming of all raw meat and to remind customers of the higher risks of food poisoning for children and the elderly.

Foods Forus Co, operator of the Yakiniku-zakaya Ebisu restaurant chain—four customers of which died after eating raw beef dishes at its outlets—admitted Tuesday to having taken a lax attitude toward food safety and that it had stopped trimming meat to remove surface bacteria at its restaurants since July 2009, despite being aware of government guidelines to do so."

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