Japan recalls baby food over cricket contamination

TOKYO - A Japanese firm said Thursday it was recalling tens of thousands of pouches of baby food after an insect was discovered in one package, the latest food scare to rock consumers.

Asahi Holdings said its subsidiary would be calling back an estimated 120,000 bags of the meat-and-potatoes mix after one was found to contain a cricket, a small grasshopper-like insect.

Baby brand Wakodo received the complaint last month from a customer who bought the pack in Tochigi, northeast of Tokyo, and reported it included a 7.4-millimetre (0.3-inch) insect, the two companies said.

The firms said they did not know if the contamination ocurred in the manufacturing process, but had decided to recall the batch.

"We deeply apologise to our customers for causing trouble and worry," Wakodo said in a statement.

Separately, supermarket chain operator Sendo in Chiba, southeast of Tokyo, said Thursday it was recalling minced meat after a customer found a tiny piece of metal in the product.

The firm concluded that the piece was part of its mincer, a company spokesman said, adding that it has so far received no reports of injuries.

The incidents come after the Japanese arm of McDonald's said Wednesday a human tooth had been found in french fries sold at one of its outlets.

The company also reported pieces of vinyl inside chicken nuggets and a piece of plastic discovered in a sundae.

Japan generally has a good record on food safety, and its consumers are used to high standards.

Occasional blunders can prove costly to reputations, and firms that have fallen foul of shoppers have discovered the impact can be long-lasting.

Last month Nissin Frozen Foods, a unit of instant noodles pioneer Nissin Foods Holdings, recalled hundreds of thousands of frozen pasta meals after a cockroach was found inside a packet.

Instant noodle maker Maruka Foods Corp also said it had shuttered its operations after claims a cooked bug was found inside a meal.