Prima Meat Packers Ltd., the nation’s third-largest meat processor, recalled some of its products in June 2001 after discovering that sauce in them had exceeded its best-before date, a company spokesman said Monday.

The company said it recalled the products, including sweet and sour pork, on June 1, 2001, after being informed by its labor union that the sauce used in them had passed the best-before limit of 90 days.

“We immediately collected and got rid of about 120 products that were mostly in inventories, but there were around 20 to 30 products that had already been sold to customers,” the spokesman said.

“We did not notify the public of the recall because we were able to confirm that the sauce was completely harmless,” the spokesman said, adding that the firm conducted tests on samples of the products and found no problems.

The firm revealed the recall to rebuff an article in a magazine published Monday implying that the company’s products are not safe.

“The article is terribly slanderous and stems from allegations made by union members who were laid off at one of our subsidiaries in March,” the company spokesman said.

Prima Meat Packers launched the products under the Yusuke kun brand name in February 2001 but stopped selling them in October.

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