Japan food pesticide scare: Factory worker arrested

In this Tuesday, 7 January 2014 photo, the notice of apology and recall is placed on the shelves of frozen food products at a supermarket in Fujisawa, near Tokyo Image copyright AP
Image caption The company issued public apologies, as shown here, as people complained of illness

Japanese police have arrested a factory worker at a plant that produced food laced with pesticide, which led to hundreds of people being poisoned.

More than six million packages of frozen food were recalled.

Maruha Nichiro Holdings announced earlier this month it was recalling products after some were found to contain high levels of malathion.

The pesticide is used in farming, gardening and for killing fleas.

Up to 2,800 people reported symptoms after eating the products, which included pizza and chicken nuggets, manufactured at a factory in Gunma prefecture, north of Tokyo.

Police say they arrested Toshiki Abe, 49, a worker at the subsidiary of Maruha where the tainted food was found, on Saturday.

He is suspected of putting the pesticide in frozen foods at Aqlifoods's Oizumi plant in Gunma on four occasions last October.

Mr Abe has denied the charges, police say.

Maruha, which has received hundreds of thousands of phone complaints, issued public apologies in full-page ads in newspapers and warn people not to eat any of the possibly tainted food.

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