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China-made dumplings sicken 10

A clerk at a shop in Toyama on Wednesday prepares packages of a gyoza dumpling product that caused food poisoning for removal.

A total of 10 people in three families in Chiba and Hyogo prefectures developed symptoms of food poisoning after eating frozen gyoza dumplings made in China between Dec. 28 and Jan. 22, with nine of them hospitalized, it was learned Wednesday.

A 5-year-old girl in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, briefly fell unconscious after consuming one such product, according to the Chiba prefectural police.

The two prefectural police forces found an organic phosphorus agricultural chemical, methamidophos, in the dumplings and in the packaging.

As no holes were found in the packaging indicating that the chemical was injected into the products, the police believe it is highly likely that methamidophos was added during the production process.

They are also checking the domestic distribution process.

JT Foods Co., an affiliate of Japan Tobacco Inc., imported and sold the products. The Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo-based firm started Wednesday a voluntary withdrawal of all 23 products it imported that were made at a factory in China's Hebei Province, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

According to JT Foods, the two frozen gyoza products in question are Co-op Tezukuri Gyoza (handmade dumplings) and Chuka de Gochiso Hitokuchi Gyoza (Delicious Chinese-style one-bite dumplings). Sojitz Foods Corp., a trading firm in Minato Ward, Tokyo, placed orders at Hebei Foodstuffs Import and Export Group's Tianyang Food Plant in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, which is in charge of the manufacturing process from processing to packing of the products.

Sojitz Food checks the quality and safety standards of the products in China before JT Foods imports and markets them.

The products consumed by two of the three families were made at the factory on Oct. 20, according to the police and ministry.

It was confirmed that 6,816 packages of Tezukuri Gyoza and 4,104 packages of Hitokuchi Gyoza made the same day have been imported, they said. The health ministry Wednesday requested two other domestic companies importing gyoza from the same Chinese firm to stop selling the products.

According to JT Foods and the police, The 10 people are a 47-year-old woman of Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, and her four children; a woman and her daughter in Inage Ward in Chiba; and a 51-year-old man and two members of his family in Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture.

The five family members in Ichikawa complained of nausea and diarrhea after eating frozen dumplings purchased at Chiba Co-op's Co-op Ichikawa shop in the city on Jan. 22. The 47-year old woman, her 18-year-old eldest daughter, 10-year-old eldest son and 8-year-old second son reportedly were in a serious condition after consuming the dumplings, and the 5-year-old second daughter briefly fell unconscious. The five were taken to a hospital.

The three members of the Takasago family were hospitalized on Jan. 5 after eating the dumplings.

Also on Dec. 28, the Chiba woman and her daughter became ill after eating the dumplings. The mother was hospitalized, and the daughter received treatment as an outpatient.

Meanwhile, in Kanagawa Prefecture, two people who said they ate the dumplings complained of symptoms of food poisoning. The prefectural government is investigating whether this case was also caused by the dumplings.

(Jan. 31, 2008)
AP News
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