[Japan] “Nori” dried laver seaweed like this is being blamed for food poisoning outbreaks at schools in Tachikawa, western Tokyo, as well as Gobo and Hidakagawa, both of which are in Wakayama Prefecture. The product is made in Osaka’s Miyakojima Ward. Photo was taken Feb. 28. (Kae Terao).
Shredded dried laver seaweed caused a wave of food poisoning that affected more than 1,000 children and teachers at seven elementary schools in Tachikawa on the outskirts of Tokyo from Feb. 17.
The norovirus was detected in the “nori” that was served in school meals on Feb. 16, the Tokyo metropolitan government announced Feb. 28.
In Tachikawa, 1,098 victims had complained of diarrhea and vomiting as of noon Feb. 24.
Another outbreak occurred in Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, in January due to nori provided by the same maker as in the Tachikawa case.
The shredded nori was provided by Tokaiya Co., which is headquartered in Osaka’s Miyakojima Ward. Tokaiya is voluntarily recalling products that may be affected.
The seaweed in the Tachikawa case was used as a topping for a bowl of rice covered with a mixture of chicken and eggs.
A study by the metropolitan government’s food surveillance department showed that the virus gene type detected from the packaged nori matched that from the sampled stools of victims.
Dried foods can become contaminated by viruses during the processing procedure, according to the department.
The Osaka municipal government is investigating how the virus managed to affect the seaweed.
At 15 kindergartens and schools in Gobo and Hidakagawa, both of which are in Wakayama Prefecture, 804 children and teachers complained of diarrhea and vomiting in the January outbreak. It turned out that Tokaiya nori had also been served as part of school meals on Jan. 25.
View original article at: Dried seaweed to blame for mass food poisoning at schools