SAPPORO, Japan (Kyodo) — Confectionery maker Ishiya Trading Co. resumed production Thursday of its mainstay Shiroi Koibito chocolate cookies after being suspended in mid-August due to falsification of expiration dates.
The cookies, which were a popular souvenir from Hokkaido, are slated to hit the shelves next week at about 400 stores in the prefecture, including stores at New Chitose Airport and department stores, it said.
Because the Sapporo-based company had to shut down its operations for three months, the company is expecting a large decline in sales for the current business year. Whether it will regain consumer confidence is key to its recovery.
Production has resumed for a variety of Shiroi Koibito cookies, such as the sandwich cookies with white chocolate, but production for cookies with black chocolate will be delayed until Dec. 10. Full production of all its confectionary products is planned for late January, the firm said.
In August, Ishiya was found to have been falsifying the expiry dates of six of its products and suspended the production and sales of all its products after recalling them.
The scandal has caused then President Isao Ishimizu to step down to take the blame. The firm since has been striving to improve its legal compliance under the new management.
As a measure to prevent future falsifications, it has decided to put the expiration dates on the individual wrapper of each cookie instead of on the box.
To improve its sanitary conditions, the firm has implemented frequent hand-washing and sterilizing machines in its factories.