OSAKA — Major frozen foods firm Katokichi Co. said Thursday it will recall 74,000 packages of frozen Chinese spinach because it has been alerted by authorities that the imports contain levels of pesticide residue in excess of the legal limit.

The spinach was imported Dec. 10 and the packages have a recommended use-by date of May 23, 2003.

A public health center in Kagawa Prefecture on Wednesday alerted Katokichi that a health center in Chiba detected 0.04 parts per million of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in the spinach, four times the limit stipulated by the Food Sanitation Law.

Katokichi, based in Kanonji, Kagawa Prefecture, was ordered to recall 11.1 tons of frozen spinach it imported Dec. 10 from its contracted factory in Shandong Province, eastern China, Kagawa prefectural authorities said.

The company has sold the products to stores across the country since April, the authorities said.

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