Japan bread recalled after 'rat remains' found inside loaves

Loaves of bread have been recalled from shelves in Japan after they were found to contain the remains of a rat.

Production of the bread in Tokyo has been halted after parts of a "small animal" were found by at least two people.

Pasco Shikishima Corp, which produces the bread, said 104,000 packages have been recalled as it apologised and promised compensation.

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A company representative told Sky News's US partner network, NBC News, it was a "small black rat" which was found in the bread. No customers were reported to have fallen ill as a result of ingesting the contaminated bread, the company added.

"We deeply apologize for the serious inconvenience and trouble this has caused to our customers, suppliers, and other concerned parties," they said.

Pasco added in a separate statement that "we will do our utmost to strengthen our quality controls so that this will never happen again. We ask for your understanding and your co-operation."

Japanese media reports said at least two people who bought the bread in the Gunma Prefecture, north-west of Tokyo, complained to the company about finding a rodent in the bread.

The company, based in Nagoya city, central Japan, also makes rolls, bagels and muffins.

The bread had been sold in various areas, including Ibaraki, Niigata, Kanagawa, Fukushima, Aomori and Tokyo, according to Pasco.

Japan boasts relatively high food safety standards. But the nation has been rocked by food woes recently, including 1,000 schoolchildren sickened by milk and two people who got sick after eating steak at a restaurant, both earlier this month.

Widespread food poisoning from a health supplement product broke out in March and killed five people.