I’m not sure if anyone has been following the recent news on the tainted rice, but for those interested, here is a story that popped up in the Tokushima Newspaper today about local schools:
In latest news regarding the tainted rice scandal, the Tokushima Prefectural Government announced on Tuesday, September 23 that primary and junior high schools from a total of 17 municipalities throughout the prefecture have used starch from the rice in question in fried eggs for schools lunches since 2006. However, no health warnings have been issued. This is the first sign that the tainted rice has been used in food products within the prefecture.
According to the Prefectural Board of Education, the fried eggs in question used a total of four different products from the Tokyo based food processing company Suguru Shokuhin, including ‘Kodawari Dashi Maki Ouji 500’ and ‘Tezukuri Atsu Yaki Ouji 500’. Each of these products is thought to have used starch from the tainted rice, and Suguru Shokuhin has been undertaking voluntary recalls of these products.
Municipalities in the prefecture confirmed as having used these products for school lunches includes Tokushima, Naruto, Yoshinogawa, Mima, Miyoshi City, Katsuura, Kamikatsu, Minami, Kaiyo, Kitajima, Aizumi, Tsurugi, Higashi Miyoshi, and Sanogouchi. Public schools include Jonouchi, Kawashima Junior High, the School for the Blind, Rogakko, Kokufu, Itano, Anan, and the Kamojima Schools for the Disabled. The number of schools and people who may have had contact with the products is yet undetermined.
The products in question came to be used in school lunches via distributors and school lunch centres that bought the product from Suguru Shokuhin for that use. In total, it is said they were used approximately one to five times a year.
On Monday, September 22, The Tokushima City BoE, under request from the Prefectural Board of Education, investigated the use of the products in schools since the year 2003. Through this investigation it was found that the products in question were used in 17 of 31 primary schools, and 9 of 15 junior high schools in the city district. It is said that the products were bought from distributers by the School Lunch Association and used in schools throughout the city.
On Friday, September 19 it was found that products from Suguru Shokuhin containing traces of the tainted rice were used in school lunches in Aichi Prefecture. On the evening of Sunday, September 21 the Prefectural Board of Education asked all local municipalities to look into use of the products in schools throughout the prefecture, after which details regarding health concerns and other information was forwarded on Tuesday, September 23.
The Assistant Head of the Prefectural Board of Education said that, “while due attention is constantly paid to food safety, this recent incident has been very regretful. In the future we will see that full attention is paid to the safety of all food products being used.”