Maruha Nichiro President to Resign After Product Contamination

Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc. (1334) President Toshio Kushiro will resign on March 31 to take responsibility after the frozen-food maker’s products were contaminated with pesticide, the company said in a statement.

A 49-year-old contract employee of a Maruha Nichiro subsidiary was arrested yesterday on suspicion of contaminating products, the Yomiuri newspaper reported, citing police in Gunma prefecture northwest of Tokyo, where the plant is located.

Phone calls to the company outside business hours today were unanswered.

In a separate statement released yesterday, Maruha Nichiro said it lowered its full-year net income forecast to 4.5 billion yen ($44 million) from 7 billion yen. The company’s frozen-foods unit said on Jan. 12 that it’s cutting production at a factory in Yubari, northern Japan, as consumers shun its brands following the discovery of pesticide in products made at the Gunma plant.

More than 2,800 people across the country have reported feeling ill in possible connection with the contamination, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Keiko Ujikane in Tokyo at kujikane@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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