E. coli shuts Pepper Lunch steakhouse chain nationwide

Kyodo News

Pepper Food Service Co. said Monday it has closed all its Pepper Lunch restaurants nationwide after at least 12 customers came down with food poisoning.

The company, which operates more than 200 restaurants at home and abroad, said it plans to clean each outlet and ensure that hygiene controls are in place.

“We feel very sorry about the incidents. We hope to resume our operation as soon as we are fully prepared to do so,” the company said.

In the latest case, the Kurashiki Municipal Government in Okayama Prefecture said Monday a boy became sick from the O-157 strain of E. coli bacteria.

The boy, an elementary school student, suffered a stomachache after eating diced beef at a Pepper Lunch restaurant in Kurashiki on Aug. 22. He is recovering, the city said.

Eleven other customers became ill from the O-157 strain of E. coli bacteria after eating diced steak at Pepper Lunch restaurants in seven prefectures, including Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, according to the restaurant chain and local governments.

The company is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers market for startup firms.