Over 350 fall sick in Japan after eating tainted food

Updated 08 January 2014
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Over 350 fall sick in Japan after eating tainted food

TOKYO: More than 350 people across Japan have fallen ill after eating pesticide-contaminated frozen food produced by the nation’s largest seafood firm, national broadcaster NHK said Tuesday.
People have reported vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms of food poisoning after eating products including pizza and lasagne made by a subsidiary of Maruha Nichiro Holdings, according to surveys carried out by NHK and local media.
Police began investigating the company last month after it revealed that some of its frozen food had been tainted with malathion, an agricultural chemical often used to kill aphids in corn and rice fields.
NHK said that 359 people had become ill, while the Asahi Shimbun newspaper said it found the number of people who fell sick “exceeded 300.”
Maruha Nichiro said that it had received about 460,000 phone calls from consumers in connection with the incident, including complaints from customers who ate the tainted products and some reporting an unusual odor, a company spokesman said.
According to local media, police suspect the pesticide was mixed into products at the plant in Gunma, north of Tokyo.
The food maker has recalled 6.4 million potentially tainted products, with 1.2 million packages recovered so far, it said.
Maruha Nichiro said that the products in question had not been shipped overseas.
The spokesman declined to comment on how the incident may affect the company’s earnings, saying only: “We have to specify the cause first.”
Separately, Japan’s leading bread maker Pasco Shikishima Corp. was to recall about 445,000 packages of sweets after complaints that they had a strong chlorine smell, Jiji Press reported Tuesday.
A company spokesperson was not immediately available to confirm the report.
While incidents of food poisoning have occurred in Japan, including in August 2012 when cabbage contaminated with E. coli bacteria killed seven people and sickened dozens, food standards are relatively high.
However, the country’s reputation for safe and high quality food suffered a body-blow from the after-effects of the Fukushima atomic disaster, in which acres of farmland were polluted by nuclear fall-out.


Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

Updated 21 June 2018
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Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

  • Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found
  • The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa

NEW YORK: Asylum seekers moving to Europe have raised their adopted nations’ economic output, lowered unemployment and not placed a burden on public finances, scientists said on Wednesday.
An analysis of economic and migration data for the last three decades found asylum seekers added to gross domestic products and boosted net tax revenues by as much as 1 percent, said a study published in Science Advances by French economists.
The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
An annual report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released on Tuesday showed the global number of refugees grew by a record 2.9 million in 2017 to 25.4 million.
The research from 1985 to 2015 looked at asylum seekers — migrants who demonstrate a fear of persecution in their homeland in order to be resettled in a new country.
“The cliché that international migration is associated with economic ‘burden’ can be dispelled,” wrote the scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research, the University of Clermont-Auvergne and Paris-Nanterre University.
The research analyzed data from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found. They marginally lowered unemployment rates and had a near-zero impact of public finances, it said.
Greece, where the bulk of migrants fleeing civil war in Syria have entered Europe, was not included because fiscal data before 1990 was unavailable, it said.
Chad Sparber, an associate professor of economics at the US-based Colgate University, said the study was a reminder there is no convincing economic case against humanitarian migration.
But he warned against dismissing the views of residents who might personally feel a negative consequence of immigration.
“There are people who do lose or suffer,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Immigration on balance is good,” he said. “But I still recognize that it’s not true for every person.”