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Ltd. said Monday it will change its apple pie supplier after learning that its current supplier uses a coloring agent banned under the Food Sanitation Law.

Pies containing the banned agent azorubin were sold to McDonald’s, with food-processing firm Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd. acting as an importer.

Nippon Suisan imported the pies from the Chinese factory of a U.S. manufacturer.

McDonald’s learned Friday that the unauthorized coloring agent was used in the pies through customs clearance proceedings.

The fast food chain has sold 450,000 of the apple pies in question since July 18 in 15 of the nation’s 47 prefectures, including Tokyo, Hokkaido, Akita, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Chiba and Okinawa.

McDonald’s has decided to stop selling apple pies containing the banned agent and to change its supplier from the U.S. company to a Japanese manufacturer that produces pies without the additive, it said.

A McDonald’s official said, “The coloring agent is used in some European nations and it does not harm human health.”

Even so, the company said it will hand out merchandise coupons to customers who return the product or an appropriate receipt.