NAGOYA – A minimum of 27,000 beef cutlets that should have been disposed out of fear they could include foreign objects were apparently sold to consumers.
They are believed to be part of some 63,000 frozen beef cutlets that Ichibanya Co., a curry restaurant operator based in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, asked the waste disposal company Daiko to dump the meat last August and October.
Daiko, based in Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture, sold at least some of the products to one or more parties instead of disposing of them, it has been learned.
The Aichi Prefectural Government and other authorities are investigating the incident while also calling on consumers who purchased the cutlets to return them to the shops where they were purchased.
About 13,000 of the 63,000 frozen cutlets were used by 11 bento boxed meal plants in Aichi, while about 14,000 were sold at more than 20 shops, including supermarkets, in Aichi and neighboring Mie and Gifu prefectures, with some of them being processed into ready-made foods, sources said.
The whereabouts of some 30,000 of the rest, excluding those still in inventory, is unknown, according to the sources.
A noodle producer in Hashima, Gifu Prefecture, which bought and resold some of the cutets, has also been found to have purchased chicken and pork cutlets that Ichibanya intended to have dumped.
The Gifu Prefectural Government raided the noodle maker on Sunday to identify products resold by the company.
According to investigations so far, Ichibanya, which runs Coco Ichibanya curry restaurants, asked Daiko in 2014 and 2015 to dispose of a total of around 590,000 cutlets for such reasons as possible contamination by foreign objects.
Given the development, the Aichi Prefectural Government has decided to conduct on-site inspections at all 54 waste disposal companies under its supervision, Gov. Hideaki Omura said Monday.
The prefecture will examine documents related to their waste disposal operations and check whether any suspicious items are held at their facilities, Omura said.
This is “a very serious problem that undermines the health of Aichi citizens and the safety and security of food,” he said, adding that the prefecture will take tough action if necessary.