TOKYO - A COMPANY in Japan sold pesticide-tainted rice from China to snack makers, the farm ministry said on Friday, ordering a recall.
The incident came amid high concern in Japan over Chinese products after frozen dumplings last year caused thousands of people to complain of sickness, with 10 hospitalised.
The farm ministry said Osaka-based Mikasa Foods in 2006 and 2007 sold a total of 295 tonnes of imported rice, which was meant exclusively for industrial use due to its excessive level of pesticide.
The ministry ordered the company to recall any pesticide-tainted rice still on the market.
The pesticide was methamidophos, the same substance found in frozen dumplings in last year's poisoning scare.
The rice contained five times the allowed level of the pesticide, farm ministry official Yasuhiro Okabe said.
The glutinous rice was sent to companies that produce Japanese rice cakes and other snacks.
'But due to Japan's strict food-safety standards, unless a person eats a lot of the rice, it wouldn't have a negative effect on health,' Mr Okabe said.
Japan, which is required to import a certain amount of rice under international trade rules, sells rice damaged from mould, water and pesticide residue to companies for industrial use.
The rice in question shipped to Mikasa Foods was meant for manufacturing glue or other industrial use.
The ministry is seeking action against the company, which had bought a total of 799 tonnes of rice from China containing methamidophos.