Yoshinoya Hong Kong has denied it purchases ingredients from Japan’s Fukushima prefecture, which is still suffering the repercussions of a nuclear accident in 2011, Metro Daily reported Tuesday.
Messages had been circulating on WhatsApp in Hong Kong that the rice and vegetables that Yoshinoya Hong Kong uses are supplied by the agriculture ministry of Fukushima to help the prefecture revive its agriculture industry.
The messages suggest that patrons of the popular Japanese restaurant chain face the risk of developing cancer.
Yoshinoya issued a statement Monday saying the rumors are groundless and that the rice used by its Hong Kong restaurants are from China’s Heilongjiang province, while the beef comes from the United States.
On its Facebook account, the chain said it has never used rice or vegetables from Japan.
Hubert Ho, chief executive of Yoshinoya Hong Kong, reported the rumors to police, the firm said.
A spokesman for Yoshinoya was quoted as saying that all its restaurants in Hong Kong have never used raw ingredients from Fukushima since they opened.
He said that although some ingredients come from Japan, their safety is ensured by inspecting them using radiation detectors.
In late 2013, Yoshinoya announced it would grow rice and vegetables at a farm 80 kilometers from Fukushima nuclear plant.
It said the farm would supply Yoshinoya restaurants in Japan only.
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