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10 fall ill after eating frozen 'gyoza' made in China



Ten people, including children, have suffered from food poisoning in Chiba and Hyogo prefectures after eating Chinese-made frozen gyoza dumplings containing a banned pesticides, police said Wednesday.

The victims complained of dizziness and vomiting, and a 5-year-old girl in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, was once listed in serious condition, police said. But their conditions have all improved.

Police said they detected methamidophos, an organophosphorous pesticide banned in Japan, in the dumplings the two families had eaten.

The chemical is used as a pesticide in China.

JT Foods Co., a subsidiary of Japan Tobacco Inc., started recalling 23 items, including the frozen dumplings, produced at a factory in China.

The products in question are "Tezukuri Gyoza" (handmade gyoza dumplings), which come in packs of 40 pieces, and "Tezutsumi Hitokuchi Gyoza" (handmade bite-sized gyoza dumplings), which come in 20-piece packages.

They are sold in co-ops and supermarkets.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is urging companies not to import or sell all products made by the Chinese company in question.

Some companies, such as Katokichi Co., have begun recalling those products.

According to police, a 47-year-old female restaurant worker and four family members in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, fell ill after eating "Tezukuri Gyoza" on Jan. 22.

The woman, her 18-year-old daughter, 10-year-old son and his 8-year-old brother vomited after tasting something wrong, police said. The woman's 5-year-old daughter fell unconscious.

All five were taken by ambulance for treatment at a hospital.

They bought the frozen food at a co-op outlet in the city late last year.

A mother and her child in Chiba city's Inage Ward complained of nausea after eating "Tezukuri Gyoza" on Dec. 28. They were also treated at a hospital.

In Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture, a 51-year-old man and two family members were hospitalized for 10 to 14 days after eating "Tezutsumi Hitokuchi Gyoza" and developing similar symptoms.

According to food labels, the ingredients of the dumplings include cabbage, Chinese cabbage, Chinese leek, ginger and pork.

The frozen gyoza were packaged in China before being shipped to Japan.

Chiba prefectural police said they discovered no traces of holes made in the packages, indicating the problem originated in China.

Consumption of 1.5 grams of methamidophos could kill a 50-kilogram person, according to experts. (IHT/Asahi: January 31,2008)

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