Snow Brand victims top 14,700

OSAKA — The number of people who claim to have been taken ill after consuming milk or related products made by Snow Brand Milk Products Co. has reached 14,713 in 15 prefectures, mostly in western Japan, Osaka prefectural officials said Friday.

The highest number of complaints was received in Osaka Prefecture, with 10,406, followed by Wakayama at 1,988 and Nara with 1,041.

There have been 735 reports of illness in Hyogo, 415 in Kyoto, 71 in Shiga and 33 in Hiroshima since the food poisoning outbreak began in late June. Okayama had nine complaints, Ehime four, Yamaguchi and Mie three each and Kagawa two.

Toyama, Shimane and Oita each reported one complaint.

Mired in a widening food-quality scandal, Snow Brand on Tuesday began inspections of all 20 of its plants nationwide that produce milk, yogurt and lactic products.