• Kyodo

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The president of Nippon Shokuhin Co. was ordered Tuesday to probe the firm’s admitted mislabeling of imported beef as domestic and to disclose the results.

Shigehito Atoyama, president of the Fukuoka firm, received the order when he was summoned to the Kyushu Agricultural Administration Office of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry.

The ministry has learned the firm swindled an industry body in December out of some 136 million yen under a government beef-buyback program devised after the outbreak of mad cow disease last year by falsely labeling some 122 tons of meat. Atoyama earlier admitted to the coverup.

Atoyama said his company paid back the money to the industry body in February after borrowing funds from another firm.

The Kyushu farm office also dispatched its officials to the firm Tuesday to check whether the firm had falsely labeled its products in violation of the Agricultural Standards Law.

The firm is expected to set up a special committee comprising three employees of the company and two people from outside to investigate the labeling scandal. It is expected to submit a report by the end of July.

The now-defunct Snow Brand Foods Co. was also discovered to have mislabeled foreign beef as domestic to cash in on the buyback subsidies.

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