• Kyodo

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Snow Brand Milk Products Co.’s Taiki plant in southern Hokkaido resumed cheese shipments Thursday following a nearly two-month suspension of operations in connection with a massive outbreak of food poisoning in western Japan.

The cheese will be stocked at storage facilities nationwide and will hit shops and supermarkets in mid-November, company officials said.

Employees at the plant began loading two large trucks with 6.1 tons of cottage and cream cheese at 8 a.m.

The factory resumed operations Saturday after the nearby Obihiro public health office lifted its suspension order Friday.

On Aug. 23, the Hokkaido Prefectural Government ordered Snow Brand to halt production at the plant indefinitely after discovering enterotoxin, a bacterial toxin, in samples of powdered skim milk produced here.

The milk was an ingredient in four dairy products made at the firm’s Osaka plant that caused widespread food poisoning in June and July, sickening about 15,000 people.

On Wednesday, Snow Brand staff handed out free milk and cheese to grocery shoppers in an attempt to apologize for the poisonings and regain public trust.

At 166 Ito-Yokado Co. supermarkets in 18 prefectures, 50,000 packages of milk and cheese were distributed to customers with a pledge by Snow Brand claiming its products are safe.

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