Gifu Prefecture accuses scandal-hit firm of selling discarded E. coli-tainted ice cream

Kyodo, Staff Report

A firm in Gifu Prefecture accused of selling once-trashed frozen cutlets to supermarkets in Aichi Prefecture also kept ice cream cups supposedly contaminated with the deadly E. coli bacteria, the Gifu Prefectural Government said Tuesday.

The prefectural government is warning consumers to be on guard when they see the ice cream brand VL Premium Cookies & Cream. The product was originally developed for distribution only in the Lawson Store 100 convenience store chain.

According to Gifu Prefecture, Minori Foods in the city of Hashima, accused of selling dumped frozen cutlets made for Coco Ichibanya curry restaurants, had a stock of 21 VL Premium Cookies & Cream ice cream cups in its freezer.

The Gifu government confirmed from an ice cream manufacturer in the prefecture that 62,000 cups of the product were thrown away three years ago after E. coli bacteria was discovered in the products.

The manufacturer asked Daiko, a waste disposal firm in Aichi Prefecture, to treat them as waste, but the firm sold them to Minori Foods instead.

The prefecture said it also found two other confectionery products, including KitKat chocolate bars, were kept in Minori Foods. The firm bought them from Daiko as well.

A Minori Foods official has told the prefecture that he bought the products for his personal consumption.