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Neuroscience For Kids

Malathion Contaminates Food in Japan
January 10, 2014

japan News agencies have reported that more than 350 people in Japan have become sick after they ate frozen food contaminated with a chemical called malathion. The contaminated food (including pizza, pancakes and lasagna) was produced by Maruha Nichiro Holdings. People who ate the food reported that they had vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms of food poisoning.


Malathion is a neurotoxin that works like a nerve agent: it blocks the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Malathion is used as a pesticide to kill insects and it is unclear how this chemical made its way into the food. Millions of packages of food have been recalled to reduce the chance that anyone else will get sick.

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