Melamine-tainted dough spurs Saizeriya to give pizza refunds


Saizeriya Co., a restaurant chain offering low-cost Italian food, said Tuesday it will pay refunds to customers who ate its pizzas after the made-in-China dough was found to be tainted with the industrial chemical melamine.

Saizeriya President Yasuhiko Shogaki said the refunds would start immediately for customers regardless of whether they have receipts for pizzas purchased at Saizeriya’s 542 outlets in 15 prefectures in eastern Japan between Sept. 25 and Oct. 2.

Shogaki, who spoke at a news conference at Saizeriya’s processing plant in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, said he is “offering an apology for causing much trouble to customers and all parties concerned and for being late to take followup measures.”

Saizeriya, which is headquartered in Yoshikawa, Saitama Prefecture, said Monday that a very small amount of melamine was detected in its pizza dough. No health hazard has been reported so far.

Saizeriya said the dough was produced Aug. 9 by Jincheng Quick-Frozen Food Co., a Chinese food maker based in Foshan, Guangdong Province, and imported by The Best Food Creators, a Tokyo-based firm.

During the eight days through Oct. 2, Saizeriya served 54,000 pizzas that used dough produced the same day as the dough found to contain melamine, it said.

The chain said it asked an inspection agency Sept. 25 to analyze samples of the pizza dough and obtained the results Thursday.