Meat Hope Co. routinely committed 13 types of misconduct over 24 years, including mislabeling its products, falsifying use-by dates and mixing intestines into ground meat, the farm ministry said.
The scandal-ridden meat processor based in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, dismissed all of its employees Tuesday in a sign that the company will soon fold. Meat Hope’s production line was halted last Wednesday, when the company admitted to mixing pork into “100-percent” beef products over seven to eight years.
But the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries found during an on-site inspection that Meat Hope’s misconduct was much more extensive and went further back.
The ministry determined that Meat Hope’s wrongdoings had been willfully conducted on a systematic basis on the orders of President Minoru Tanaka and other executives.
Falsifying use-by dates was another common tactic, according to the ministry.
On a day-to-day basis, the company falsified the use-by date for products by moving forward their processing date by one day.
The use-by date shenanigans are a big, big deal in Japan, where many favored dishes use half-raw meat. What the Nikkei understandably wants to know is…
Why was this misconduct not detected earlier? In February of last year, information that would have [constituted] a charge of misconduct was said to have been gathered, but cooperative action was not taken by agriculture ministry officials and the Hokkaido prefectural government. Without a rapid response, measures to protect (internal) whistleblowers cannot be instituted in order to aid in stopping legal infractions.
At least one other food processor that was a client of Meat Hope’s has been implicated in the manipulation of sell-by dates, too. Somewhat more comically for those of us who grew up with frugal meatloaf-making mothers, Meat Hope is also alleged to have stretched its ground beef by adding bread.