OSAKA — Snow Brand Milk Products Co., whose low-fat milk products have caused an outbreak of food poisoning over the past week in western Japan, asked Osaka health officials earlier this week not to issue a recall order and instead allow the company to voluntarily recall products made at an Osaka plant, sources close to the case said Thursday.
The company announced on Tuesday its decision to recall all products manufactured at the Osaka plant.
Earlier Tuesday, the Osaka city public health center only issued a recall order for two calcium-enriched milk products while requesting that the firm voluntarily recall all other products made at the plant that produced the contaminated milk.
The company issued the order after finding that the two products — Mainichi Honebuto calcium-enriched milk and Cal-Power — could also have been contaminated.
Snow Brand’s other products manufactured at the plant in Osaka’s Miyakojima Ward include coffee-flavored milk, yogurt drinks and fresh cream.
While the firm initially agreed to withdraw the calcium-enriched milk products, it refused to voluntarily recall a fresh cream product, saying it is produced under the names of a distributor’s private brands, not Snow Brand’s name.
However, after finally agreeing to recall all of the products produced at the plant, the company asked city officials not to announce the recall order and instead allow the company to carry out the entire recall voluntarily, the sources said.
Infuriated by the company’s request, the city government immediately made the order public at a news conference Tuesday.
A city official says he was angry at Snow Brand because the firm seemed primarily concerned with saving face.
The milk was found to have been contaminated by a toxin-producing bacteria known as staphylococcus aureus.