6 dead, 99 suspected sick from E. coli O157 in pickled cabbage in Japan

Four people, including a 4-year-old girl, have been confirmed dead of food poisoning from pickled Chinese cabbage produced by a Sapporo food company.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports another two are suspected to have died due to the cabbage.

According to the city health care center, four people have died of poisoning caused by E. coli O157 after eating pickled Chinese cabbage produced in late July by Iwai Shokuhin. Three of the four victims were women in their 80s and 100s living in elderly care facilities in the city.

Mass food poisoning occurred at elderly care facilities in and around the city, with 99 patients likely connected to the suspect cabbage.

Four-year-old girl Ayana Matsumura of Sapporo suffered symptoms from Aug. 6 and died last Saturday.

The O157 strain discovered in her body was found to be the same strain detected in the cabbage. According to information relayed to the city by her family, she is very likely to have eaten cabbage bought at a supermarket near her house.

The food firm’s president, Norio Iwai, expressed deep regret. “I feel deeply about (the incident) and will do my best to help investigations. I can only say I’m truly sorry,” he said.

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