Shares in Japan Tobacco Inc., Japan’s biggest cigarette company and food producer, fell by 17% to their lowest in more than 10 months after it recalled frozen pork products imported from China suspected of being contaminated with pesticides.
Eight people had suspected poisoning from eating pork dumplings, according to Japan’s Health Ministry. Food imported by a Japan Tobacco unit from Tianyang Food Plant in China’s Hebei province caused a family of three and a family of five to fall sick in January.
Liu Jianchao, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that no evidence of toxic agricultural chemicals in the dumplings was found. Production of the dumplings, however, has been halted.
His country’s reputation reputation for food-processing and manufacturing was damaged last year after recalls of lead-painted toys and poisoned seafood.
This recall and the associated costs have a negative effect on the company’s earnings especially since it is gradually moving into the food business. Cigarette sales are down as smoking is slowly becoming less popular in Japan.
Japan’s second-largest food producer, Ajinomoto Co. Inc., also recalled pork products made by the same Chinese company.
In addition, Nippon Meat Packers Inc. recalled sausage and pork products from the same source.