Japan recalls 120,000 bags of baby food after insect found in one package

TOKYO (AFP) - A Japanese company said on Thursday it was recalling tens of thousands of pouches of baby food after an insect was discovered in one package, the latest food scare to rock consumers.

Asahi Holdings said its subsidiary would be calling back an estimated 120,000 bags of the meat-and-potatoes mix after one was found to contain a cricket, a small grasshopper-like insect.

Baby brand Wakodo received the complaint last month from a customer who bought the pack in Tochigi, north-east of Tokyo, and reported it included a 7.4mm insect, the two companies said.

The companies said they did not know if the contamination ocurred in the manufacturing process, but had decided to recall the batch. "We deeply apologise to our customers for causing trouble and worry," Wakodo said in a statement.

The incident comes after the Japanese arm of McDonald's said on Wednesday a human tooth had been found in french fries sold at one of its outlets.

The company also reported pieces of vinyl inside chicken nuggets and a piece of plastic discovered in a sundae.

Japan generally has a good record on food safety, and its consumers are used to high standards.

Occasional blunders can prove costly to reputations, and companies that have fallen foul of shoppers have discovered the impact can be long-lasting.