EARLIER this year, poisoned dumplings from China turned Japanese consumers off imported foodstuffs. But now they find that locally-sourced food is not necessarily safe either as the latest tainted rice scandal has shown.
Fortunately, no one has complained about falling ill after eating tainted rice or products made from such rice. On the other hand, if someone had, the scam might have come to light even earlier.
It is likely to take some time for Japanese consumers to recover from the shock of knowing that even rice - that most sacred of all foods in Japan - had been tampered with by unscrupulous brokers under the nose of government officials.
Japanese businesses will also be taking no chances.
Until now, they have procured supplies of raw materials on trust, assuming they would not be cheated. Now, they will have to find a way to ensure that whatever they use is absolutely safe.
Rice is not the only problem. There are also scams involving eel and chicken and heaven knows what else.
When I go to the supermarket, how will I know for sure that I am really buying what it says on the label. Stricter rules, more random checks by inspectors and harsher punishment for offenders may be the only way to protect consumers.
Just goes to show that one can never be too careful, even in Japan where consumers are reputed to be the most demanding in the world.