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Marusan-Ai Sued in Australia Over Tainted Soy Milk Claims

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Marusan-ai Co., a Japanese producer of miso and soy milk products, is one of three companies sued in connection with the sale of tainted soy milk in Australia, a law firm said.

Marusan-ai and Muso Co., which exported the soy milk to Australia, were added to a lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 600 Australians claiming to have been made sick after drinking tainted products, Australian class-action firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers said in an amended statement of claim. The Japanese companies ignored tests showing high levels of iodine, the law firm said.

Maurice Blackburn sued Spiral Foods Pty, a Melbourne-based supplier of organic foods, in 2010, claiming its Bonsoy Milk contained excessive amounts of iodine, which can be harmful to health. Spiral Foods voluntarily withdrew Bonsoy from the Australian market in December 2009, Maurice Blackburn said.

“These three companies had test results in mid-2006 which showed that Bonsoy contained extremely high levels of iodine,” Maurice Blackburn said in statement on its website today. “They did nothing.”

Calls to Marusan-ai’s offices in Tokyo and Okazaki City, Aichi prefecture and Muso’s office in Osaka were diverted to answering machines on a public holiday in Japan.

The Australian law firm said it will request a trial date at a preliminary hearing scheduled for Mar. 8.

Excessive iodine consumption can result in heart palpitations, pain in the muscles and an enlarged thyroid gland, Maurice Blackburn said.

The case is Between Erin Downie and Spiral Foods Pty. SCI2010-05318 Supreme Court of Victoria (Melbourne).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Sydney at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at

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