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article imageJapanese firm orders recall of baby food over cricket

By Karen Graham     Jan 8, 2015 in Business
A Japanese firm, Asahi Group Holdings, said on Thursday its subsidiary, baby brand Wakodo is recalling about 120,000 pouches of baby food after an insect was found in one of the packages last month.
Wakodo received a complaint from a customer last month who bought the package in Tochigi, northeast of Tokyo. The customer reported the pouch included a 7.4-millimetre (0.3-inch) insect, according to the two companies.
In this latest food scare, the companies are saying it hasn't been determined if the insect got into the baby food during the manufacturing process, but the decision was made to recall the whole batch. Wakodo issued a statement saying, "We deeply apologise to our customers for causing trouble and worry."
The 7.4 centimeter cricket was in complete form inside a pouch of "Japanese-style meat and potato stew," said Wakodo in the statement. The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that local media on Thursday also reported a 1.2 centimeter nail was found in a package of meat delivered by Watami Takushoku Company in October of 2014. A spokesman for Watami confirmed the story to Japan Real Time.
Wakodo said the cricket could not have come from its manufacturing plant because crickets have not been found at the factory over the past year. Wakodo also pointed out that it was unlikely the cricket was cooked during the processing because it would not have remained intact considering the mixing and heating procedures involved.
Watami's spokesman said the bento box in which the nail was found is made in Niigata prefecture, but could not have come from any of the machinery there because the factory uses X-Ray sensors that would have detected the nail. Watami has not determined how the nail got into the box, but is not ruling out tampering.
Japan generally has a very good reputation regarding food safety, and Japanese customers are used to high standards. But if a company runs afoul of those standards, it can cause irreparable harm to the brand's reputation, and in some cases, this lasts a long time.
More about Baby Food, Japan companies, Cricket, nail in meat box, Wakodo