Food Label Inspection in Japan

Label bank_Professional Food Labeling in Japan

Food Labeling Regulations and Standards --Review of 2015 and Expected Future Developments

The year 2015 was a year of great change in food labeling regulations and standards in Japan. Let’s review important events of 2015, which had an impact on food labeling experts, in chronological order.

Major Events (2015)


2015 JanuaryRevised 'Quality Labeling Standards for Genetically Modified Food'(Stearidonic acid producing soybean)
Revised 'Cabinet Office Ordinance on Labeling Standards for Milk and Milk Products' (Listeria monocytogenes)
MarchPartially revised 'Specifications and Standards for Food, Food Additives, etc.' (Food with Health Claims)
Promulgated 'Cabinet Office Ordinance on Matters Significantly Affecting Food Safety'
Published 'Food Labeling Standard', 'FAQs on Food Labeling Standards', 'Concerning Food Labeling Standards (enforcement notice)'
Published 'Guidelines on Notification of Foods with Functional Claims'
AprilEnforced the new 'Food Labeling Standard'
Started to accept applications for 'Foods with Functional Claims'
Started to use 'Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese (2015)'
MayPublished 'FAQs on Alcoholic Beverages Labeling under the Food Labeling Act'
JuneThe first amendment of 'Concerning Food Labeling Standards (enforcement notice)'
Published 'Notes on How to Write Application for Foods with Functional Claims'
Introduced 'Geographical Indication (GI logo)'
JulyThe first amendment of 'FAQs on Food Labeling Standards'
Held 'Expert Committee Meeting on Food for Specified Health Uses'
SeptemberThe second amendment of 'Concerning Food Labeling Standards (enforcement notice)'
Published 'Checklist of How to Write Application for Foods with Functional Claims'
OctoberRevised 'Labeling Standards for Geographical Indication for Alcoholic Beverages'
Promulgated 'Labeling Standards of Manufacturing Quality for Fruit Wines'
DecemberPromulgated 'Revised Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations' (Administrative Monetary Penalty System)
Held 'Panel on How to Provide Information When Selling Food on the Internet'
The second amendment of 'FAQs on Food Labeling Standards'
The third amendment of 'Concerning Food Labeling Standards (enforcement notice)'

Expected future developments relating to food labeling regulations and standards


Here is the list of food labeling related events scheduled from 2016 onwards.

2016 AprilStarting to use the 'Database of Manufacturer's ID Codes'
Implementing 'Revised Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations'
SeptemberThe end of transition period (fresh food) to implement the new 'Food Labeling Standard'
2017 AprilReviewing the system of 'Foods with Function Claims' (slated to review after two years from the implementation)
2020 MarchThe end of transition period (processed food, food additives) to implement the new 'Food Labeling Standard'
The end of the period of use of 'Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese (2015)'

As you can see, regulations and standards relating to food labeling have been changing significantly in Japan. Such changes will require an internal information management system that handles and reviews an ever-larger amounts of information, and the year 2016 will be a challenging year to build up such a system.

January 2016