• Kyodo

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Police on Wednesday turned over to prosecutors their case against food manufacturer Hayashikane Sangyo Co. and 17 senior executives, including President Hiroshi Usui, for the false labeling of ham and bacon products.

According to police, the firm claimed its products were made entirely from domestic meat, when in fact low-cost imported meat had been mixed into the products. The firm also failed to list that the products contained additives.

The case against Hayashikane Sangyo, based in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, specifies that it carried out the false labeling between July 2001 and last June, and sold the products to co-op supermarkets. But police also uncovered false labeling that had taken place before 2001.

Their action violates the Unfair Competition Prevention Law and the Food Sanitation Law, police said.

“We used low-cost imported pork for the products, disguising it as domestic, in order to gain more profits,” one senior official was quoted as saying. “We used additives, but we could not show it on the labels because it went against our contracts with the co-op supermarkets.”

According to investigators, all but one of the executives, who has denied any knowledge of the wrongdoing, have admitted to the allegations.

Another company official said the firm regretted that the case was turned over to prosecutors and that it will take appropriate measures.

An investigation found that the mislabeling took place systematically from around 1989, according to police.

Police said the misdeeds were reported to the board of directors in 2000, but the firm continued to falsify the labels until it came to light through repeated checks by the co-op supermarkets.

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