The health ministry said Tuesday that it has found unauthorized genetically modified papayas from Thailand among those sold by a food distributor based in the city of Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture.
The papayas were sold on the company’s website.
The Fukuyama Municipal Government has ordered the company, Food Net Co., to recall the papayas because the products are in violation of the country’s food sanitation law.
The company is now collecting the fruit it sold while the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is monitoring Thai papayas as they enter Japan.
“If the papayas in question are the kind of genetically modified papayas that are distributed in Thailand, there is a low level of health risk,” a ministry official said.
The papayas were imported to Japan by a wholesaler in Okinawa for use as pet food, Fukuyama officials and other sources said.
Food Net said, “We were told by the wholesaler that the papayas are not genetically modified, nor are they for pet food, so we are confused.”