• Kyodo

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A Kobe-based company selling ready-made Chinese foods at department stores said that over the past half year, it sold egg rolls beyond their shelf life in several stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area, the Kansai region and Hiroshima.

Reiko Yoshino, president of Shinsho Trading Ltd., told reporters that she ordered the shipment of the expired foods “because they tasted good.”

According to the firm, which operates Madam Lee food concessions at department stores, 2,600 units of expired egg rolls were sold at seven outlets from March to August.

Vice President Makoto Yoshino said the company was under pressure to dispose of rising stocks amid slowing sales.

Shinsho said it has stopped sales of all its products at 21 of the 23 shops nationwide upon request from the department stores where they operate the outlets.

Hygiene officials from Kobe’s Chuo Ward also searched the company’s office as part of a probe into the case.

Shinsho said the foods in question included 566 packs of Vietnamese steamed egg rolls with a March 14 expiry and 2,052 packs of fried egg rolls that expired on May 16.

The products had been made and frozen by Hong Kong and Japanese makers, and Shinsho sold them steamed at seven outlets, in Isetan, Hankyu, Daimaru, Sogo and Tenmanya department stores.

When large stocks of them remained unsold beyond the expiration date set by the manufacturers, Yoshino gave the go-ahead for their sales after tasting them, the company claimed. “I was told that they were beyond their shelf life, but they tasted good when I ate them, so I ordered the shipment,” the president, Yoshino told a news conference.

A company spokesman said the firm has learned of the facts through an internal probe in August, which had been launched after a tip from an outsider.

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