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Sympathy to Japanese sickened by beans
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China on Thursday extended sympathy over a Japanese consumer's sickness caused by eating China-made frozen green beans.

"We hope she will recover soon," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press conference when asked to comment on this case.

The Chinese government valued product quality and food safety, and attached great importance to this case, he noted.

According to Japanese media, a woman fell ill after eating the beans produced by a company in Yantai, a coastal city of east China's Shandong Province. The woman experienced numbness in her mouth after eating the beans on Sunday.

Japanese health authorities reportedly said they had detected 6,900 parts per million of organophosphate pesticide dichlorvos in the beans, or 34,500 times the maximum level the government allows for imports. No dichlorvos was found in other packaged beans.

Informed of this case, China immediately contacted with the Japanese embassy to China to size up situation, China's quality inspection authorities immediately went to Yantai to conduct investigation in the company, and local governments also set up a special group to assist the investigation, according to Qin.

Now the investigation is well under way, he noted.

According to the current result of the tests, the company's production facilities were normal, all production records were in order, and no hidden trouble was found in quality or safety, Qin said.

The management of the company conformed to the standards, he noted.

Moreover, this batch of products exported to Japan had passed tests before exportation and no pesticide residue, such as the dichlorvos or methamidophos, was detected.

Qin said the Chinese quality inspection department Wednesday once again tested the retention samples of the exported beans and found no pesticide residues.

He said the Chinese side has reported the initial investigation results to the Japanese side and made arrangement for the officials with the Japanese embassy to visit Yantai on Thursday to find out relevant situation.

Qin also disclosed some information provided by the Japanese side which said relevant Japanese organization only found residue of dichlorvos in one bag of beans but found no such pesticide residues in other products of the same batch.

He said he has noted that the Japanese police and media recently both believed there is little possibility that the beans were polluted during the producing process, and that the case might not be a food safety incident but a man-made poisoning case.

The Japanese police have placed the case on file for investigation, he added.

He stressed that the Chinese government is ready to keep close contacts and cooperation with the Japanese side to find out the truth as soon as possible.

(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2008)

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