BEIJING (Kyodo) — The Chinese government said Thursday preliminary tests carried out on samples of frozen dumplings linked to a food-poisoning outbreak in Japan have shown no traces of pesticide.
But the government has requested a Chinese producer of the dumplings to recall its products and is sending experts to Japan so the two countries can jointly investigate the issue, China's Foreign Ministry and the country's quality control watch dog said.
The government has studied samples from two batches of the product linked to the outbreak, made at a factory in the northern province of Hebei in October, but found no traces of harmful chemicals, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a regular press conference.
''We urge Japan to provide more details to help with the investigation. We also hope that the Japanese consumers who have fallen ill quickly recover,'' he said.
An official of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said the government has required Tianyang Food, the producer, to halt production and exports after China was alerted to the problem by the Japanese authorities on Wednesday.
Liu Deping, deputy director general of the administration's general office, said at a separate press conference the producer is also tasked with recalling all of its products, both domestically and internationally.
The samples tested were from dumplings produced on Oct. 1 and 20 last year, which were when the products consumed in Japan were made, according to the administration.
An investigator of the administration tested them in the early hours of Thursday and found no agricultural chemical that was believed to be the cause of the poisoning in Japan, the administration said.
At least 10 people have suffered food poisoning, with one of them temporarily in a serious condition, in Chiba and Hyogo prefectures after eating the dumplings, the Japanese health ministry and police said Wednesday.
The number of people who have complained of illness after eating gyoza dumplings or other products made by a Chinese producer has reached about 450 in Japan, according to a Kyodo News survey as of Thursday evening.
The police said they have begun an investigation suspecting that a pesticide detected in the products imported by JT Foods Co. had been mixed into them either during the production or packaging process.