Asahi Breweries is to recall 650,000 bottles of distilled spirits made from a batch of pesticide-tainted rice at a cost of 1.5bn yen (£8m). The company is recalling thousands of bottles of spirits sold to restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores from June this year after they were manufactured with rice illegally marked as edible. Mikasa Food, an Osaka-based company, purchased a batch of contaminated rice from the government which was meant to be sold only as a non-edible product for industrial use. However, the government, which has launched criminal proceedings against Mikasa Food, confirmed this week that the company allegedly resold it to a number of distillers and Japanese rice cracker making companies in order to increase its profits. Asahi Breweries yesterday admitted that the contaminated rice was used in the process of fermenting sweet potatoes for the popular Japanese spirit "imo shochu". As a result, around 650,000 bottles have been recalled by the brewery in a voluntary move to dispel consumer anxiety, according to a spokesman for Asahi Breweries. "We have not detected any traces of agrochemical residues in end products," he said. Mitsuo Fuyuki, president of Mikasa Food, last week apologised publicly after he admitted that he had ordered the illicit sales of around 300 tonnes of the contaminated rice as higher quality edible rice.