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Lax security made food poisoning easy: suspect

Kyodo

A man who was indicted earlier this year for lacing frozen food products with pesticide at a factory in Gunma Prefecture, says he had no trouble doing so because of loose security.

“I was able to move back and forth between production lines and it was easy for me to put pesticide into the products,” Toshiki Abe, 49, said in a recent interview.

The poisoning affected thousands of consumers.

Abe, a contract worker at the factory operated by Aqlifoods Co., revealed that he wanted to take revenge on the company since he was unhappy with his wages and the way he had been treated by his boss.

Aqlifoods is a subsidiary of seafood company Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc.

“I used to go to another production line during breaks to snitch food,” Abe said. “Anybody who had been working there for a long time could move between production lines without raising suspicion.”

According to the indictment, Abe sprayed pesticide on 22 kinds of products, including frozen pizza, from Oct. 3 to around Nov. 5, 2013.

His attorney has said Abe kept malathion in a perfume bottle and brought it to his workplace by hiding it.

“I wanted to get revenge,” Abe said. “I was going to leave the company when someone caught me doing it, but I just didn’t expect them (the products) to get to consumers.”

Abe said he felt bad about the 66 people who lost their jobs after the factory stopped operations in January after the incident came to light.