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August 17, 2017

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Snow Brand scandal deepens as firm admits pork blunder

Japan's scandal-wracked Snow Brand Foods Co. Ltd. admitted Saturday it had mislabeled pork for 18 months, further diminishing the company's image following its beef labelling scam.

"The oldest confirmed case is from August 2000," Snow Brand Foods spokesman Koji Ohira said Saturday, explaining the results of an internal company survey finished on Jan. 31 and submitted to the government.

"There were several cases, and in one, the company changed the labels on pork imported from the United States and sold it as domestic miso-flavored pork."

Ohira said Snow Brand Foods mislabeled some portion of 11 tons of pork imported each month from August 2000 until the end of Jan. 2002 because brisk sales in domestic miso-flavored pork had diminished stocks.

He admitted the company also gained 35 percent more on revenue through the scam, because domestic pork sold for 230 yen (1.72 dollars) per 100 grams compared with imported pork for 150-160 yen.

The company apologized again for causing a loss in trust in the food business.

"We deeply apologize for damaging the trust in food administration and inviting the mistrust of consumers," Ohira said in a separate statement.

The latest scandal follows an admission from Snow Brand Foods on Jan. 23 that it had mislabeled 13.9 tons of imported Australian beef as domestic to qualify for a government program of subsidies to cushion the impact of the mad cow crisis. It later upped the total to 30 tons.

The parent company, Snow Brand Milk Products Co. Ltd., was also embroiled in a scandal when about 13,000 people in and around Osaka fell ill after drinking the company's milk in June 2000.

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