Fri, Feb 29, 2008 - Page 1 News List

China throws poisoning charges back at Japanese

AFP , BEIJING

China deflected blame yesterday for a food poisoning scare in Japan involving Chinese-made dumplings, suggesting there was criminal intent, but a top Japanese police official demanded proof of the claim.

China's product safety watchdog said its own probe had cleared the Chinese dumpling maker of culpability, and that the food was laced with a pesticide after production, but probably not in China.

"We believe the Japan `poison dumpling incident' is not a food safety problem caused by pesticide residues but is an isolated deliberate crime," said Wei Chuanzhong (魏傳忠), deputy director of China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, at a press conference. "The act of contaminating the dumplings was very unlikely to have happened in China."

At least 10 people in Japan fell ill after eating frozen dumplings made in a factory near Beijing.

The Chinese findings released yesterday ran counter to Japanese claims that the contamination of the dumplings, produced by the Tianyang Food plant near Beijing, likely occurred in China.

"We want them to produce scientific data to back their claims," National Police Agency head Hiroto Yoshimura said in Tokyo.

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