Officials from Duskin Co, a cleaning-equipment rentals company that operates the fastfood chain Mister Donut in Japan, admitted yesterday [Monday] that they had overseen the sale of more than 13 million meat dumplings treated with a banned antioxidant.

Further more, they revealed that the US parent company was involved in a ¥60m (US$0.47m) bid to cover up the scandal, by paying off a business client aware of the treatment.

Suita, Osaka Prefecture-based Duskin sold the dumplings in 2000 knowing that they contained the chemical t-butyl hydroquinone, in violation of Japan’s Food Sanitation Law.

Takeshi Ueda, president of Duskin, issued a public apology at hurriedly arranged news conference late last night: “We have damaged the trust of our customers”.