• Kyodo

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Police on Monday searched a chicken-processing company in Saitama Prefecture affiliated with the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (Zen-Noh) after it admitted selling imported chicken falsely labeled as domestic fowl.

Saitama and Kagoshima police officers searched about 30 related locations, including Zen-Noh Chicken Foods Corp.’s head office in Toda, Saitama Prefecture, and subsidiary Kagoshima Kumiai Chicken Foods Corp. in Kagoshima, on suspicion that Zen-Noh Chicken Foods violated the Unfair Competition Prevention Law.

Investigations by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry revealed the company asked Kagoshima Kumiai Chicken Foods to sell chicken imported from Thailand and China as domestic product between November and February.

About 230 tons of chicken meat and processed products were also falsely labeled as being from animals raised on additive-free feed, they said.

Kagoshima Kumiai is affiliated with the Kagoshima Prefectural Economic Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives.

The Co-op Net Enterprise Union Federation of Cooperatives said it has decided to ask for reimbursement of about 19 million yen for products purchased from Zen-Noh. Co-op Net and the Shutoken Co-op Consumers’ Cooperative Union in mid-March canceled their transactions with Zen-Noh.

Ministry officials said they ordered Zen-Noh and the Kagoshima federation to improve their administration and create a system to prevent similar incidents in line with the law on agricultural cooperatives.

Police said they are also checking into what they believe were problems in the commodity management and monitoring systems.

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