Japanese factory worker held over poisoning of food with pesticide

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 January, 2014, 4:29am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 January, 2014, 4:29am


Japanese police have arrested a food factory worker for lacing some of its products with pesticide. The crime led to massive poisoning and a recall of more than six million packages of frozen food.

Toshiki Abe, 49, worked at a subsidiary of Maruha Nichiro Holdings, where the tainted food was found. Abe has denied the charges.

As many as 2,800 people may have been made ill by the tainted food, which included pizzas, croquettes and pancakes made at the plant in Gunma prefecture, north of Tokyo.

Abe is suspected of lacing the food with poison four times in October, and malathion, the pesticide used, was allegedly found in his possession.

Maruha Nichiro has announced executive pay cuts and said president Toshio Kushiro and the president of the subsidiary were resigning in March to take responsibility for the food poisoning.

The Tokyo-based manufacturer has repeatedly apologised and bought full-page ads in major newspapers to apologise and warn people not to eat any of the possibly tainted food.