The Fair Trade Commission said Wednesday it has ordered Marubeni Chikusan Corp. to cease production over its intentional mislabeling of some 1,700 tons of chicken during an almost three-year period beginning in 1999.
The FTC said the mislabeling was conducted at the company’s nine offices, including Sendai and Osaka.
Marubeni Chikusan Corp., a unit of trading house Marubeni Corp., is the second major meat processing company to receive an FTC order in relation to false labeling charges. In March, Tokyo-based Snow Brand Foods Co. became the first to receive such an order.
According to the FTC, Marubeni Chikusan sold a total of 700 tons of Brazilian chicken labeled as domestic chicken to 80 mass retailers nationwide between April 1999 and February this year.
During the same period, the company sold some 1,000 tons of ordinary chicken as special brand-name chicken.
The FTC order, to be published in a public bulletin, also requires the firm to place advertisements in newspapers and elsewhere to apologize for its actions and to reveal the facts behind the scandal.
In March, Marubeni Chikusan admitted that its branch office in Sendai passed off chicken imported from Brazil as higher-priced domestic chicken.
However, Marubeni Chikusan President Hitoshi Nishizono admitted to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry recently that the illegal labeling practices might also have occurred at other offices.
The mislabeling case was revealed in March, when the FTC’s Tohoku office discovered that the Sendai office had been mislabeling chicken products between 1999 and 2001.
The company falsified descriptions of 5 tons to 8 tons of imported chicken each year during that period, company officials revealed.
Earlier, an executive at a packaging firm admitted his company had been involved in mislabeling chicken products for about 10 years at the request of Marubeni Chikusan.
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