OSAKA — Farm ministry investigators expanded their probe Saturday into the suspected defrauding of the state-run beef buyback program by Nippon Food Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan’s largest ham and sausage maker, Nippon Meat Packers Inc.

As the investigation widened, more of the nation’s supermarkets removed products of Nippon Meat Packers, better known as Nippon Ham, from their shelves, a move that will cause enormous damage to the firm’s business.

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