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'Fake' Chickens Rattle Consumers

by 5m Editor
12 October 2007, at 9:32am

JAPAN - Consumer faith in food safety is once again in peril after chicken mislabeled as "Nagoya Cochin," a popular variety of chicken, was shipped to Aichi Prefecture and areas around Tokyo.

After conducting DNA tests on 90 samples of chicken meat and processed products labeled as Nagoya Cochin, the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization found that 21 percent of them were made with different breeds of chicken, stunning poultry farmers and those working in the industry.

"Nagoya Cochin is one of the best brands of Nagoya food. The incident may raise questions about other food products from the area," Nagoya Mayor Takehisa Matsubara said.

Several department stores in the city have suspended sales of Nagoya Cochin chicken products.

Nagoya Cochin are one of the area's most famous chicken breeds, and were first developed by a former retainer of the Owari Domain, now the western part of the prefecture, at the beginning of the Meiji era (1868-1912). By mating a chicken of the region's original breed with a Buff Cochin, a breed imported from China, a new species was developed for eggs and meat.

In 1905, the new species was registered with the defunct Japan Poultry Association.

From the 1960s on, the liberalization of chicken imports from foreign countries led to a decline in the number of Nagoya Cochin. But consumers missed the firm meat of the Nagoya brand, preferring it to the softer meat of mass produced broiler chickens.

Source: National

5m Editor