Japan Tobacco May Reduce Output of Retailer-Brand Products

Posted on: Wednesday, 23 July 2008, 18:00 CDT

Source of Article:  http://www.redorbit.com/news/business/1492358/japan_tobacco_may_reduce_output_of_retailerbrand_products/


Tokyo, July 23 (Jiji Press)--Japan Tobacco Inc. is considering scaling down production of retailer-brand frozen food items in a move to strengthen its food safety management system, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

Japan Tobacco will place greater priority on regaining consumer trust in its food products than on bolstering its earnings from food products it makes on a consignment basis for retailers, the sources said.

Focusing on its own brand products, Japan Tobacco will merge its Katokichi Co. and JT Foods Co. units in early 2009. Pesticide-laced frozen "gyoza" dumplings imported by JT Foods caused a food poisoning case in Japan.

Details about the new firm, including its corporate name, will be fixed later.

Japan Tobacco plans to raise the proportion of products made at its group's plants to 70 to 80 pct in the future from about 30 pct before the food poisoning scandal came to light in January this year, the sources said.

Following the scandal, sales of the Japan Tobacco group's frozen food products plunged 60 pct year on year in January. In June, sales were down 50 pct from the year-before level.

Japan Tobacco is stepping up efforts to enhance its safety management system by, among other things, establishing food inspection centers in Japan and China and indicating information on place of origin for its food products.END


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