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Home » Hacking News » Japan P&G recalls Pringles over genetically modified potato

Japan P&G recalls Pringles over genetically modified potato

by ivy on July 17th, 2001 TOKYO - Japanese fans of Pringles potato chips will have to cut down on the hit snack after the Japanese unit of Procter & Gamble Co (P&G) said on Tuesday it would recall 800,000 packs made with unapproved gene-spliced potatoes.

The recall is only the latest to affect snack products in Japan since stricter rules were imposed in April to guard the country against food imports containing unapproved genetically modified (GM) products.

Procter and Gamble Far East Inc said it was voluntarily recalling the Pringles chips that were produced in the United States between last August and April this year and imported to Japan.

The recalled quantity of chips represents about eight percent of the company's average monthly sales or nearly 10 million packs of the chips in Japan, it said.

While the safety of the genetically modified (GM) potatoes -- NewLeaf Plus and NewLeaf Y -- used in the chips had been verified in the United States and Canada, they are not approved in Japan.

Shares of Procter & Gamble closed up $1.01, or 1.48 percent, at $69.15 on Monday.

The NewLeaf varieties were developed by leading U.S. agricultural biotech firm Monsanto Co to protect potatoes from insects and potato viruses. In 1998, Monsanto's Japan unit applied for approval of NewLeaf Plus, but a decision is still pending.

Japan's new rules established zero tolerance for imports containing unapproved gene-altered products and require mandatory labelling for approved GM products.

Since April, Japan's Health Ministry has been checking for unapproved GM crops in food imports at unloading ports and in food products on the domestic market. Japanese food makers have also voluntarily been checking their products in a bid to retain consumer confidence.


The snack recall comes a day after House Foods Corp said it would resume production of its O'ZACK potato snacks late this month with sales set to restart in Japan on August 27.

In late May, Japan's Health Ministry ordered House Foods to recall its O'ZACK snacks, after the ministry found traces of NewLeaf Plus potatoes in them.

House Foods' recall was Japan's first since the stricter rules on biotech products took effect.

In the wake of the recall, House Foods said it had stopped buying processed potatoes from the United States and Canada, and instead turned to suppliers in Germany and the Netherlands where gene-altered potatoes are not cultivated.

House Foods' recall was followed by similar recalls of snack products by Japan's unlisted Calbee Foods Co Ltd on June 20, Bourbon Corp on June 22, and Morinaga and Co on July 11.

The food recalls, reminiscent of the StarLink furore late last year, have deepened public distrust of GM foods in Japan, which is the top U.S. corn buyer, and fanned concerns that more gene-spliced StarLink corn could end up on store shelves.

The discovery of StarLink in food products last October by a consumer group had prompted Japan, where StarLink is not approved even for animal feed, to cut sharply its U.S. corn buying. Importers had to scramble to find other supply sources.

StarLink, made by Franco-German biotech firm Aventis SA to fight a destructive pest known as the European corn borer, has not been approved by U.S. regulators for human consumption because of fears over potential allergic reactions.

by Reuters

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